CCC Reiterates the Need for a Gender Lens on Policies Toward Addressing Climate Crisis, Other Security Crises in the Time of the Pandemic

September 10, 2020 Thursday

Delagates from Bhutan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), Thailand, and Vietnam gathered to identify ways to develop and implement gender-responsive climate action within the energy and agricultural sectors during the Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop on Mainstreaming Gender Equality into Agriculture and Energy held last November 22-23, 2019 as part of the celebration of the 12th Annual Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week.

MANILA, 10 September 2020 — The Climate Change Commission reiterates the need for the incorporation of a gender lens in the formulation and implementation of policies on climate and security, specifically in communities affected by climate change and conflict, to reduce the risks on one of the most vulnerable sectors to climate change and violence, and to support the building of resilient, inclusive, and peaceful societies.

Citing the  collaborative report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women); Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA); and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) entitled “Gender, Climate and Security: Sustaining inclusive peace on the frontlines of climate change” which was released in June 2020, the CCC echoed that there is an intricate connection between gender equality, state fragility, and climate vulnerability of countries around the world, showing that women on the frontlines of climate action are playing a vital role in conflict prevention, and sustainable and inclusive peace.

Further, the report states that communities affected by conflict and climate change face a double crisis and the ongoing pandemic has only compounded the impacts of climate change on food security, livelihoods, social cohesion, and security. Such added challenges can undermine decades of development gains, escalating violence, and also disrupt the fragile peace processes.

Climate change has fueled heatwaves, fiercer storms, rising seas, prolonged droughts, and floods that have impacted the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people across the world. These risks exacerbate gender inequalities. Women often bear the brunt of these effects.

The report also emphasized that “women are facing disproportionate economic burdens due to different types of marginalization; gendered expectations can lead men and women to resort to violence when traditional livelihoods fail; and important socio-economic shifts can result from changes to patterns of migration.”

Economically, women are at a disadvantage because they disproportionately make up the world’s poor. Women are also less likely to be educated and represented in government or leadership positions. Women face greater health and safety risks when water and sanitation systems become compromised, and they take on increased domestic work when resources dwindle. In times of conflict, women are often subject to sexual violence and other abuses.

Establishing a direct correlation between environmental degradation and gender inequality has not always been straightforward. But recent data-driven studies have confirmed what many experts have known for years: Women are more vulnerable to the political, social, and economic effects of climate change.

The same report stressed the urgent need for gender-responsive action to tackle these linked crises, and pointed out that “interventions around natural resources, the environment, and climate change, for example, provide significant opportunities for women’s political and economic leadership and strengthen their contributions to peace.

Similarly, “sustainable natural resource programming also offers opportunities to mitigate sexual and gender-based violence in conflict. Recognizing that peace and security, human rights and development are interdependent is vital to forge a better future.

The report also called for more investment for gender equality. Women’s empowerment is required in fragile states and especially in sectors related to natural resources where it is particularly low. The report stressed the need to “ensure that gender considerations are appropriately reflected in debates and deliberations on emerging policy on climate-related security risks – not only to strengthen awareness and understanding of particular vulnerabilities, but also to highlight opportunities for leadership and inclusion of women and marginalized groups in decision-making processes."

The CCC echoes the report’s recommendations for integrated action. Currently, the agency implements policies and actions which address the impacts of climate change on women, this to include the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) where one of its main components is “the identification of differential impacts of climate change on men, women, and children,” and the Climate Change Act of 2009 which notes the importance of gender mainstreaming in climate action. The act also recognizes the vital aspects of women’s voices in climate policy and action formulation.

In coordination with the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the agency is currently working on its Level 3: Gender and Development (GAD) Application from its previous status of Level 1: Foundation Formation, following the PCW’s initial assessment of the CCC’s Gender Mainstreaming Evaluation Framework (GMEF).

The GMEF is a tool that identifies the status and/or progress of government agencies in mainstreaming gender and development in their respective organizations, particularly in their systems, structures, policies, programs, processes, and procedures, in line with the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women and other GAD mandates, such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA), and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As a country member of the UNFCCC, the CCC recognizes the convention’s endeavors towards gender and climate change action and continues to support these endeavors by coming up with ways to improve the existing Gender Action Plans.

Meanwhile, the climate body also calls on lawmakers and local government heads to study and address the connections between gender, climate and security to effectively respond to the range of crises that the planet faces, such as the increased competition and conflict over scarce resources as climate change triggers more extreme weather patterns around the world.

By bringing women into these actions as agents of change and not as victims, our country can build back better with great consideration of gender risks by ensuring post-COVID-19 economies will begin to address the fundamental inequalities and disproportionate impacts of climate change on women, and the interconnected nature of gender inequality on the whole of society.