Suman K Apparusu: COP18, Doha participation and interfacing with several constituencies; especially the gender and women constituency was a great learning as well as a humbling experience.
There were some women who braved difficult circumstances to make it to the COP18 and make their voices heard; some were there to push hard for climate justice; some pro-actively took up not in my name actions and petition sign-ups for empowerment; some influentially steered the cause by their towering presence in key gender events and many stood right there to express solidarity for the positive things that were to come out of the momentous gender balance decision at COP18.
A full gender day celebration and this decision perhaps came about as a result of many such attempts through various COPs and almost after a decade of struggle! Kudos to all who walked many bumpy roads to see and make it happen!
It now stands that nation states would have to set clear gender balance goals, make room for their participation and report periodically on how this would be met, engage on a continuous basis with this constituency, involve them in the current and emerging bi-lateral, multi-lateral climate forums, acknowledge their local, national or regional climate contributions and allocate sufficient funds to give effect to the decision.
But three strands of COP18 that deserves big mentions here are the “Momentum for Change (MfC) – Women for Results” launch event, the Article 6 of the Convention – Doha work programme decision and the articulation of the climate change and gender discourse along four connector axes in – development, social protection, human security and ecological preservation.
1) The MfC – Women for Results: the launch event marked some stark departures from the business-as-usual…for the event
- happened in a partnership mode with a multilateral forum and a philanthropic foundation coming together;
- geared to capture the stories of inspiration, stories of solutions on the ground and stories of hope and struggle;
- set out to reward and to replicate success stories on a bigger scale for greater impact as well as to learn from those that failed and
- designed to serve as a beacon for similar such initiatives to be taken up to resolve standing and thorny negotiation issues in the spirits of co-operation, solidarity and inter-generational equity.
Initiatives such as these clearly deserve a thumbs-up for all that they intend to start and achieve!
2) The Article 6 of the Convention-Doha Work Programme Decision: The decision text presents opportunities for civil society constituencies especially those that represent gender to take up initiatives in the form of education, training, public awareness, public access to information, public participation and international cooperation to bring to bear crucial climate decisions guided by the work programme principles.
3) Articulation of climate change and gender discourses along four connector axes in – development, social protection, human security and ecological preservation: A set of formal and informal conversations backed by secondary research and the unfold of gender events/decisions that happened at COP18 have meant climate change and gender discourses have the potential to be aligned along four connector axes in
- development (education, empowerment and employment to build resilience to long term impacts of climate change);
- social protection(social infrastructure build up , cash transfers to absorb climate shocks and to weather extreme climatic events);
- human security( security cooperation frameworks, planned migration corridors to cope with natural resource conflicts and climate induced displacements) and
- ecological preservation(ecosystems regulation and biodiversity conservation to nurture the nature’s self-sustaining capacity)
Given these developments, the climate change and gender constituency in India and elsewhere in the world could perhaps work towards
- Exploring opportunities aligned with the gender balance decision of COP18;
- Highlighting /pitching for lighthouse projects in MfC: Women for Results, UNFCCC initiative;
- Evolving operationalization models for Doha Article 6 work programme;
- Advancing the climate change and gender discourses along the above four articulated connector axes in development, social protection, human security and ecological preservation
The world needs a calming and an effective influence in the face of climate related death, disease, strife and loss.
A gender balanced COP along with its other strands aim to provide a means to counteract those disturbing climate effects.
Is then the climate change and gender constituency ready to welcome and to explore such emerging means to provide that calming yet effective influence?
About Author: Suman K A wrote this article for Climate Himalaya’s Youth Speak Column. An Engineer by training Suman has great interest in climate change and mountain issues. She is the founder of Change Planet Partners foundation.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of Climate Himalaya’s team.
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