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The Paris Rulebook

By Stacey Kimmig and Ayuska Motha

The first week of the COP is drawing to a close, and the women’s movement here is pushing their key demands to be included in the Paris Rulebook, being formalized this week. The Paris Rulebook is intended to define how Parties account for their progress on pledges made to reduce emissions in the Paris Agreement. As the Paris Agreement is only a framework of ideas on how to combat climate change agreed to by over 190 countries, finalizing the Paris Rulebook is by far the most important objective of this year’s COP. While Parties debate over specific wording to be used, such as “shall” or “may”, the Women and Gender Constituency is here advocating for specific wording about gender to be included. Ayuska and I are here to support these efforts in any way we can. The key Rulebook demands from the Women and Gender Constituency can be found here: http://womengenderclimate.org/gender-equality-in-the-paris-implementation-guidelines/

We are also supporting the Human Rights team to try and ensure that all human rights be mentioned in the Paris Rulebook. But time for negotiators to agree on the rulebook is very short, and it sometimes feels like human rights are being forgotten in the frenzy. So, we have been supporting protest actions and trying to meet Party members to ensure that they are thinking about including human rights in the text. The Paris Agreement preamble mentions human rights as follows: “Acknowledging that climate change is a common concern of humankind, Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity.” Because of the mention in the Preamble, some Parties feel it is unnecessary to mention human rights in the Rulebook, but of course, it is easy to ignore what is in the Preamble when the Rulebook is how countries’ efforts will be measured. So, Civil Society is here and will continue to raise the issue with Parties. But time is running out, as texts are already being finalized this week, to be presented to country ministers who will arrive early next week. It is a mammoth task for everyone, but I am hopeful that human rights, including women and girls’ rights, will be included in the Rulebook.

We will keep you posted!

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