“Strengthening Institutions for a Gender transformative Environmental Policy” – CSW event recap

On the 22nd of March, we organised a CSW66 side event together with the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV). The purpose of the side event, titled; Strengthening Institutions for a Gender transformative Environmental Policy”, was to share and promote good examples of gender-transformative governance structures, gender-responsive institutions for environmental policies and actions.

The panelists included Parliamentary State Secretary of BMUV, Dr Bettina Hoffmann, Achim Steiner the UNDP Administrator, Rolph Payet, the Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, Pamela Castillo, the Head of the Gender Parity Initiative Secretariat of Costa Rica, Lyazzat Ramazanova, the Chairwoman of the National Commission for Women’s Affairs Kazakhstan, Dr. Minu Hemmati, Co-founder of the MSP-Institute, highlighted the importance of gender-responsive sustainable chemistry and Franka Marie Bernreiter, the German UN Youth Delegate on Sustainable Development. The event was moderated by our Executive Director Sascha Gabizon.

The panelist shared good practices from global and regional programmes, such as the Gender Action Plan of the BRS Conventions presented by Rolph Payet, as well as scoping studies to document the gender dimensions of implementation at national level of the conventions. Achim Steiner presented the Gender Equality Seal (GES) Programme, a tool for public and private enterprises to reducing gender gaps and promoting gender equality and competitiveness simultaneously that started as a regional program and has over 600 companies participating. Dr Bettina Hoffmann explained that the International Climate Initiative (ICI), which is under the responsibility of her Ministry, promotes the equal participation of men and women.

Also at national level good practices exist that can be replicated. Dr Bettina Hoffmann shared good practices at national policy level, such as the ministries gender strategy where employees are to systematically take gender issues into account and have instruments such as guidelines and work aids. Dr Hoffmann also shared that the ministries commissioned human biomonitoring studies commissioned by the BMUV, it is known that women and girls carry different amounts of pollutants in their bodies than men and boys. To understand this, such type of research studies are needed to analyse gender-specific responses to chemical exposure. Costa Rica has public policies designed to achieve the ambitious goals of biodiversity restoration and climate action – including the aim to achieve 65% forest cover – and Pamela Castillo explained that these policies recognize the important contribution of indigenous, tribal and women’s communities to the conservation and management of nature and biodiversity.

The other panellists shared also shared lessons and good practices, such as the importance of have measures to end sexual harassment and abuse (Achim Steiner) and protect women environmental defenders (Franka Marie Bernreiter) and to use quota to increase the number of women in decision making (Lyazzat Ramazanova) and gender road map tools for sustainable chemistry (Minu Hemmati).

From participant responding, we heard about the need for gender-responsive climate finance, and creating feminist networks with female ministers and feminist environmental leaders from other sectors, as well as the need to engage more men in gender equality activities such as for example the Gender Champion programme.