The 24th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held December 2018 in Katowice, Poland marked the half way point of the two-year UNFCCC Gender Action Plan (GAP) adopted by countries in November 2017. To mark the occasion and to highlight action taken to implement the GAP in 2018, the call to #ActOnTheGAP was launched during COP24 in Katowice.
From the #ActOnTheGap Action List, which highlighted side-events that had achieved their commitment to ensuring a gender balanced panel, to the video messages of support and calls for more action – including from incoming COP25 president-designate, Chile’s Environment Minister Carolina Schmidt, Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland Simon Convey, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, among others – it is clear that momentum is building in support of the Gender Action Plan.
A new format for the annual Gender Day included a dynamic set of events throughout the afternoon in the Action Hub, a Market Place and Exhibition showcasing how countries and organisations are implementing the plan.
A High-Level Event explored the issue of access for women in the tech industry, before Momentum for Change Women for Results winners kicked off Gender Day activities at the Action Hub by providing insights into their projects and motivations for their various climate initiatives. Projects ranged from a replantation project in Sri Lanka to a bike project aimed at fighting discrimination against women in Syria.
Discussions continued throughout the afternoon, including a debate on integrating gender into National Adaptation Plans. Gender Day at the Action Hub closed with a poem titled “Rise” by Aka Niviâna and Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner that was a call to action to take environmental responsibility.
A clear message from these activities and exhibits is that when climate solutions are inclusive, women and girls are catalysts of change, delivering more sustainable and effective climate action. A message supported by the Executive Security in her #ActOnTheGAP video “women and girls must be empowered to be agents and leaders of climate action”.
COP24 also saw the first capacity building workshop for National Gender and Climate Change Focal Points, which was held in the inaugural Capacity-Building Hub with over 50 national representatives participating. The capacity building workshop provided delegates with the opportunity to exchange experiences as well as gain knowledge about the policy work that is being carried out on gender and climate change.
The discussions surrounding gender and climate change will not pause after the conference in Katowice, says the UNFCCC, adding that activities at COP24 demonstrated that many countries, organisations and individuals remain committed to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls through climate action.