COP23 Presidency Announces First Gender Action Plan, Highlights the Role of Women in Climate Action

The COP23 Presidency announced the States Parties had finalised the first-ever Gender Action Plan, which aims to increase the participation of women in all UNFCCC processes. It also seeks to increase awareness of and support for the development and effective implementation of gender-responsive climate policy at the regional, national and local levels.

“This is a major achievement as it recognises the critical role of women in climate action,” said the President of COP23 and Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama.

“It is about integration of gender into all the work around climate policy – both nationally and internationally,” added the Chief Negotiator for the COP23 Presidency, Ambassador Nazhat Shameen Khan.

The Gender Action Plan is one of the key priorities of the COP23 Presidency, ensuring that those who are traditionally marginalised and victims of climate change are empowered to become actors of change.

Fiji’s Minister for Women, Children, and Poverty Alleviation, the Honourable Mereseini Vuniwaqa, highlighted the importance of the historic Gender Action Plan at the Women’s Leadership Dinner in Bonn, Germany, which was held on 13 November.

“Women around the world face some of the gravest risks from our changing climate; that is why women are some of the greatest actors for change and why we need our voices on the front lines of climate diplomacy,” said Minister Vuniwaqa.

Minister Vuniwaqa moderated a panel of women leaders at the dinner, which was organised by the COP23 Presidency and Switzerland and held on the eve of Gender Day. Then on Gender Day itself, the COP23 Presidency held a High-Level Breakfast with support from the Mary Robinson Foundation.

The Gender Action Plan will enhance support for the implementation of gender-responsive climate policy and action at the national and local levels.It will build on existing frameworks, such as the Women Delegates Fund, and create new processes for women to become agents of change in climate action.

Climate change impacts the most vulnerable in society, and women often face the greatest threat as they are more likely to live in poverty and are traditionally excluded from the decision-making process at a local, national, and international level.

Gender is the focus of the second High-Level Global Climate Action Day at COP23, which is being held in Bonn, Germany from 6-17 November.