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The Gender and Climate: a Talanoa dialogue in CBA 13

  • Published at 05:48 pm May 27th, 2019
Climate Triune_May, 2019_Pg 20 & 21 (1)
Photo: Courtesy

Turning ambition into a reality

Climate change impacts and exacerbate injustices, and the effects are more pronounced on women, girls and indigenous groups unless they are consciously included in the practices and policies implemented from local to international levels. It is essential for the policymakers and feminist movements to support and advocate for climate justice. Integration of climate and gender justice within programmes, research agendas and human rights movements should be supported to promote climate and gender transformative change at all levels. 

Participants from the recently held CBA 13, Community Based Adaptation conference in Addis Ababa expressed their opinion to work for transformative change in the areas of gender-responsive climate regime while attending the Gender and Talanoa dialogue session.

The Talanoa Dialogue is based on the Pacific concept of “talanoa”—storytelling that leads to consensus-building and decision-making. The process is designed to allow for participants to share their stories in an open and inclusive environment, devoid of blame, in the hopes that others can learn and benefit from their ideas and experiences.

This session was built on the Gender and Climate Talanoa dialogue of the previous year, mainly focusing on participants’ experiences and the outcomes of CBA12's "Gender and Climate Talanoa" session 2018. The interactive discussion focused on reviewing the issues generated and a shared vision of how we want to progress. 

Further, the Talanoa style dialogue shared pathways of a theory of change that would lead us to gender transformative climate action at local, national and international levels. The session brought together the insights into how meaningful participation of women and other vulnerable groups can support gender transformative climate action.

The principal objective of the session was to review the progress of gender considerations at local, national and global level, and jointly contribute to a theory of change that can lead to transformative gender responses in climate action at different levels. The sharing in the Talanoa dialogue on gender highlighted the real commitment to rights-based, gender-just solutions to climate change that is imperative for the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Lessons from various gender focused-climate study found that, to date, grassroots and community-based initiatives are not supported by the current mechanisms—which are centralised and focused on large scale interventions and movements—leaving behind the poorest living at the grassroots. Although narratives around vulnerability recognise that women are the most impacted, they are often not recognised as agents of change and holders or solutions—and so not involved in the policy and decision-making processes for climate change initiatives and solutions.

This, therefore, points to the need for conscious responses to climate change that include poor and marginalised women—and men—with lived experience in the development of solutions. The importance of promoting gender equality and women's leadership in climate policy has been emphasised, but it is also essential to understand how gender justice in climate action will support achieving transformative climate resilience to build the case. 

The dialogue prioritised three critical areas like, how to achieve meaningful participation, representation and engagement of women in policy and decision making on climate change; how to develop and use knowledge, information, skills, and evidence to support gender transformative climate action. 

Finally, discussing how climate finance is equitably distributed to ensure that money gets where it matters and supports gender transformative climate responses. 

The Talanoa came-up with some influencing messages and recommendations for a more significant commitment to equity, gender equality and social inclusion for more effective climate action as well enabling a just transition—recognising this is about power, about authority and the reality of decision-making. For this, building a shared vision for socially transformative climate responses need to be driven with identifying priorities led from the bottom up and integrated into top-down processes which can ensure meaningful participation of the intersections of people including women. 

To achieve the shared vision, it is critical embracing and strengthening local culture and traditional bodies for active engagement, communication and implementation. It was discussed that at the policy level, gender and climate change action plans should be consistent and coherent with the UNFCCC Gender Action Plan (GAP) adopted at national levels. A just and gender-responsive climate framework can take different forms, but fundamentally it must respect and promote human rights and gender equality, and ensure sustainable development and environmental integrity. 

At the end of the Talanoa dialogue, the participants expressed the call for an urgent and prioritised adaptation action and resources that respond to the most vulnerable countries, communities and populations; and, ensure full, inclusive and gender-equitable public participation in decision-making.

Shaila Shahid is the Senior Advisor for Climate Change, Disaster Risk Reduction and Gender, at ICCCAD.