COP26 Climate Action

GLASGOW – Several governments and non governmental organisations from around the world pledged their support to initiatives that would empower women in communities deeply impacted by climate change during the recently concluded United Nations Climate Change Conference 2021. The monetary value of these pledges amounts to more than USD 139 million.

On account of Gender Day during the event last week, more famous as the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26), UN Women convened a meeting of members of the Action Coalition on Feminist Action for Climate Justice. Participants planned many bold plans with the aim to make gender equality a focus area, and ensure sufficient and meaningful participation of women in climate action. 

“Women and girls are already shifting the climate discourse and implementing critical climate solutions. We need governments and all stakeholders to invest in their initiatives, energy and activism. Rhetoric is important, but reality change is the urgent focus now,” said Åsa Regnér, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women. She insisted that the commitments made during the event are a step in the right direction, but we need many others to join us.

Tarcila Rivera Zea, a leader from Quechua tribe from the United States of America said, “Mother Earth is only one; all of humanity has equal rights. We belong to the cultures of resistance throughout history and want to be considered as part of the solutions. We have the seeds for food, and the knowledge to contribute to mitigation and adaptation.” She added that her people use their voice and build alliances through social movements, hoping to be recognised as political actors actively working to build a better planet for all.

Other people who addressed the convention included youth activist Fatou Jeng from Gambia, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. 

Some of the initiatives that were announced during the meet were:

  • Bolivia committed to promote the leadership of women and girls from the indigenous people like this from the Afro-Bolivian community and rural women, in designing sustainable development projects
  • Canada said it will ensure that 80% of its USD 4.3 billion climate investments over the next five years target gender equality outcomes. It is also a signatory in the multi-stakeholder Gender and Energy Compact at COP26.
  • Ecuador committed to integrate violence prevention into climate action among many other initiatives
  • Germany announced a new Gender Strategy under its International Climate Initiative (IKI) which will promote gender-transformative approaches in international climate and biodiversity cooperation
  • Nigeria said it will expand on its Implementation Strategy for their National Gender and Climate Action Plan
  • Sweden announced  a plan to integrate a gender perspective in all the core operations of the Swedish Environment Protection Agency (EPA)
  • The UK set out how USD 223 million to fund several projects within the country as well as six female negotiators representing less-developed countries to participate and attend COP26 through the Women Delegates Fund
  • The US said it will promote gender equity and equality in mitigating and responding to climate change as a strategic priority of the US Government National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality; investing at least USD 14 million of the Gender Equity and Equality Action Fund toward gender-responsive climate programming

UN Women has also put forward several policy recommendations relating to gender and climate, including in its recent “Beyond COVID-19: A feminist plan for sustainability and social justice” report highlighting the need to take rapid and radical action to green economies and promote gender equality in the context of climate change.

These announcements come only months ahead of the sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) which is slated for March 2022. They are expected to help build momentum internationally to drive implementation of the Gender Action Plan agreed at COP25.