The Importance of Gender Equality in Climate Action : An investigation into how UN member states view the relation between gender equality and climate action
Abstract: Scientists warn that the current rate of climate change will raise average global temperature by 4°C compared to 1990, although warming of +2°C will already have dire effects throughout the world. Therefore, the UN acknowledges SDG 13 (Climate Action) as one of the most important goals for the coming decade in order to fight climate change. Another focus of the UN is SDG 5 (Gender Equality), which is also an overarching goal but still lagging behind. Working on one of the goals can have a positive effect on other goals. Therefore a synergy can be created when investigating how climate change affects gender equality and how gender equality affects climate action. The link between gender equality and climate action was already established by the UN at the Beijing Platform of Action in 1995. However, there has been little research into how government representatives understand how the goals are interconnected. These representatives are important in the drafting of new policy and keeping the UN accountable for incorporating gender into its policies. Hence, this thesis investigates how the relationship between gender equality and climate action is viewed by government representatives, as well as in national climate documents. A content analysis was performed on National Determined Contributions (NDCs) and climate change Gender Action Plans (ccGAPs). The results illustrate that the location and expertise of the interviewees impacted their opinions greatly. The interviewees based at permanent missions at the UN headquarter in New York were of the opinion that their government thought the link existed but acknowledged more should be done to convince other countries as the link was not taken for a fact. The interviewees working with the UNFCCC negotiations, however, said all member states agreed on the importance of including gender equality in climate action. Another finding is that only one-third of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) contained gender perspectives. Of these, one-third mentioned women as victims of climate change and two-thirds saw women as actors of change in climate action. Establishing a firm agreement on the link between gender equality and climate action within UN bodies is important to expanding the impact of climate policies on both gender quality and climate action.
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