Africa’s commitment to integrating gender in climate change adaptation polices and initiatives matters
By Dana Elhassan (AfDB); Mary Nyasimi and Kathlee Freeman (CCAFS)
Actors across Africa can show their commitment to ending gender inequality by reconsidering climate change policy and initiatives.
Africa stands to be disproportionately affected by climate change comparative to its contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions (less than seven percent), and disadvantaged groups, such as women and young people, will bear the brunt of this, as their ability to cope is compromised by limited access to resources and power.
To better serve women, there needs to be greater awareness of the impact of climate change . Where data exists, it is on a small-scale, project level where sex-disaggregated data has been collected. As a result, policy and decision-makers are not aware of the need for gender differentiated policies and adaptation and mitigation actions. Research, policy, and other initiatives can help close this gap, by clearly linking climate change and gender.
Policy responses and adaptation initiatives
Across Africa, new policy and special incentives must incorporate gender inequality in the face of climate change. The African Development Bank’s implementation of a ten-year strategy with the twin objectives of inclusive and green growth, supports adaptation strategies that benefit men, women, and young people.
This strategy will widen access to economic opportunities for Africans across age, gender, and geographic divides. Accompanying this plan is The Bank’s Gender Strategy 2014-2018, which strengthens women’s legal status and property rights, economic empowerment, and knowledge management and capacity building.
Additionally, the Paris Agreement provides an opportunity for African leaders to strengthen gender-responsive national contributions to adaptation and mitigation strategies, as the agreement explicitly includes women as partners. To make this all work, accessible technologies and financial resources must be included in future plans associated with the Paris Agreement.
Policy should be informed by data. As existing climate change policies do not include specific responses for men, women, and youth, evidence-based, participatory processes that draw on sex-disaggregated data should be employed.
Encouraging institutional gender mainstreaming
Civil society organizations (CSOs) are locally based intermediaries between national governments, research institutions, non-government organizations (NGOs), and those working at the grassroots level. Through advocacy activities, such as equal participation of both men and women in learning platforms, capacity building, and evaluations, CSOs ensure climate change policies and adaptation actions are gender responsive and transformative.
Overall, young people are losing interest in farming. To respond to this, there is the need to include organizations that provide a platform for young people’s voices, such as the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN), which spans 27 African countrieswhich encourages investment, and provides a voice for young people in agriculture and climate change. The organization’s activities include establishing climate-smart agriculture (CSA) national lobbying fora, designing CSA experiential fields, and organizing dialogue at national, regional, and global levelsand creating platforms for disseminating information.
Integrating gender into climate change initiatives will ensure adaptation is effective and realistic. Working together, various actors, including development partners, CSO’s, the private sector, researchers, and marginalized individuals, can implement actions that ensure the equal participation of men and women in the decision-making processes.
The role of partnerships
Also important to this work is the use of partnerships. The recently launched Inclusive Climate Change Adaptation for a Sustainable Africa (ICCASA) project, is a partnership funded by the Bank and the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation Trust Fund (KOAFEC). The project, which is implemented by partners, including the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change (AWGGCC), Women in Global Science and Technology (WISAT), and World University Service of Canada (WUSC), aims to understand and integrate gender in climate change adaptation planning and implementation across the continent.
The first ICCASA webinar was held on July 12, 2018, to inform the public about the project and to dialogue about gender and climate change issues,