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Gender Action Plan Workshop at the UN Climate Change Conference, Bonn, May 2017

by UN Reps Stacey Kimmig and Ayuska Motha

Although we have been sitting in on many sessions dealing with different environmental topics, the most important so far has been the Gender and Climate Change Workshop. The goal of the two-day workshop was to develop elements of a Gender Action Plan under the UNFCCC. The first session was opened by the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Ms. Patricia Espinosa; the Ambassador of Fiji, Ms. Nazhat Khan; and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation, UNFCCC Chair Mr. Tomasz Chruszczow. This was followed by presentations from the UNFCCC Secretariat, the Women and Gender Constituency (FAWCO is a member of the WGC), and other presenters to inform everyone and define our objectives. By the end of the first session, five cluster areas had been proposed and all workshop participants divided up into theses cluster areas.

During the second day of the workshop, we all met in our smaller working groups to react, brainstorm, discuss and rewrite the relevant sections of an earlier version of the gender action plan. We were part of the gender balance, participation and women’s leadership work group; a very international, hardworking, harmonious group of people representing NGOs, the UNFCCC, universities and indigenous people, among others. The earlier version we were working on “set a target of 30% representation of women in Party delegations and in constituted bodies under the UNFCCC by 2019 with a view to progressively increasing representation to 50% by 2025”. We were able to discuss and convince our working group to increase the target to 50% by 2019. We all agreed that this was an ambitious goal, but saw the urgent need to strive toward gender equity in the process as soon as possible. We really enjoyed working as a team under a tight deadline towards a common goal.

Following the workgroup break-out sessions, we regrouped and presented our sections to the rest of the group and then opened up for comments or questions. The Gender Action Plan will eventually be implemented by the UNFCCC to ensure gender just climate policies and a more balanced representation and participation of women in the process. It was empowering and inspiring to be a part of this Gender and Climate Change workshop.

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