The African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change calls for a move from mainstreaming to integration

11/11/2016
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The African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change has identified gender integration as a key component to the continent’s implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Chairperson of National Gender and Equality Commission of the African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change, Winfred Lichuma, said integration is much more meaningful and could lead to positive results as opposed to mainstreaming, which has largely dominated the gender discourse, but with minimal impact.

“To achieve the required responsiveness, we need to move from gender mainstreaming to integration as it is much more deeper and addresses the inadequacies noted especially at implementation of policies and strategies,” Lichuma told delegates at a side event on Day 3 of the UN climate talks (COP22) in Marrakech, where an analysis of the Paris Agreement and gender in Africa was presented.

Lichuma explained that integration would ensure that the excluded gender is involved at all levels, as opposed to their needs just being mainstreamed in policies and strategies.

Highlighting agriculture which is believed to be the main source of Africa’s emissions and largely dominated by women, Lichuma bemoaned the failure by the Paris Agreement to include more explicit recognition of the gender dimension.

And representing the Nigerian Minister of Environment on the panel, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC country focal point Peter Tarfa said ignoring the gender dimension in the implementation of the Paris Agreement would be suicidal.

“Climate Change vulnerability is more pronounced among women who are in the majority in most countries, and should be involved especially on critical issues such as climate finance,” said Tarfa, adding that Nigeria is reviewing its National Climate Change Policy to make gender inclusivity more visible.

Meanwhile, representing the African Union Commissioner, Olushola Olayide had some good news for the African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change, announcing that the African Union’s Climate Change Strategy is almost ready to be tabled for adoption.

“The AU Climate Change Strategy is almost ready, and will soon be tabled to the high-level organ for adoption. I therefore encourage you to keep pushing the gender agenda at the negotiating table and ensure that it is part of the strategies for the implementation of the Paris Agreement,” she said.

Africa’s Agenda 2063 has a clear aspiration on gender, which is linked to youth development as the two have been identified key components to unlock Africa’s development potential.

Representing youths, Zambia’s Abel Musumali of Green Enviro Watch said, “The implementation of the Paris Agreement will not be possible without women and youths,” adding that the two have a symbiotic relationship of mother and child, and are usually the face of climate change vulnerability in Africa.

Tabi Joda, another youth ambassador on climate change, concluded that a well-developed agricultural system which accommodates the young people’s innovations, is the solution to youth and women’s vulnerability to climate change.

“Women and youth carry the burden of Africa’s poverty, destitution, but the solution lies in empowering these two groups with agricultural solutions that work; all it requires is commitment,” said Joda, explaining his involvement in the promotion of climate smart agricultural innovations to entice youths into agriculture.