Intrinsically linked: gender equality, climate and biodiversity

The climate crisis is the greatest challenge of our time. The recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) demonstrates that we have reached a tipping point. If we want to achieve the Paris goal of no more than 1.5 degrees global warming, we must turn the tide right now. Not in 2030 or 2050. To attain these goals everyone needs to be involved.

Women and girls*1 constitute almost half of the world’s population, but their voices are not sufficiently heard in biodiversity and climate policy. For example, only 33 percent of decision making positions at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are occupied by women, and at the level of governments and other institutions this percentage is even lower. Not only is this unjust, but it is also unwise. Women hold key positions in different activities that directly support agriculture and biodiversity, such as sustainable soil and water management, forestation and the preservation and cultivation of crop varieties. (Indigenous) women often lead resistance to fossil fuel projects and degradation of ecosystems. They are knowledge holders and pioneers in major sectors such as sustainable energy, water, forestry, and agriculture. Therefore, it is important that they can participate in decision-making processes and have access to the spaces in which political decisions are made.

The worldwide climate crisis, loss of biodiversity and continuing gender inequality are intrinsically linked. Solving the climate and biodiversity crises and achieving gender equality must go hand in hand. Real change is needed, that tackles unequal power structures and unlimited use of natural resources. The way we have organised the world so far is not going to solve these crises.

We desperately need new leadership, new perspectives, and new knowledge. The Netherlands has a crucial role to play in this regard. For many years already, the Dutch government has shown leadership by focusing on women’s rights and gender equality in its Foreign Trade and Development Policy by successfully advocating internationally, for example within the context of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), for climate policy that specifically focuses on gender. The Netherlands has the money, the resources and the track record required to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises inclusively.

This paper explains the intrinsic link between climate, biodiversity, and gender equality, and offers concrete proposals to the Dutch government to implement key recommendations for an integrated policy.

The paper is a publication by ActionAid, Both ENDS, WECF en WO=MEN Dutch Gender Platform

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