The Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice welcomed the adoption on 5 July 2017 of a resolution on ‘Human Rights and Climate Change’ by the United Nations Human Rights Council that includes a focus on the nexus of climate change and gender equality, empowerment of women and women’s participation. The resolution which was adopted by consensus demonstrates the Human Rights Council and indeed the international communities’ desire to address the impacts of climate change and in particular the need to address the impacts on women and girls.
While the Resolution identifies that women are disproportionately affected by climate change it also, importantly, identifies that women are not just victims but hold the answers and are “agents of change and that the integration of a gender-responsive approach into climate policies, including . . . ensuring women’s right to participate . . . would increase the effectiveness of climate change mitigation and adaptation.” In light of this, the Resolution urges States to ‘strengthen and implement policies aimed at increasing the participation of women in climate change responses at local, national, regional and international level.’
This call echoes those made recently in other UN bodies including the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination’s General Recommendation No. 37 on Gender-related dimensions of disaster risk reduction in the context of climate , the UNFCCC Gender Action Plan adopted at COP23 (Decision 3/CP.23) and the Agreed Conclusion of the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women; all which called for increased women’s participation in climate action.
The Foundation also welcomes the Resolution’s request for ongoing international engagement, mandating a panel discussion on ‘Women’s rights and climate change, climate action, best practices and lessons learned.’ The panel, to be held during the 41st Session of the Human Rights Council, will offer an opportunity to showcase women’s role in delivering effective climate action and the value of women’s participation. The report of this panel will not only be beneficial to the HRC but will also assist States in discussions and commitments in the Gender Action Plan including the UNFCCC Secretariat in developing its synthesis report which will identify areas of progress, areas for improvement and further work to be undertaken in subsequent action plans, so as to elaborate recommendations for consideration by the Conference of the Parties at its twenty fifth session (November 2019).
The Foundation congratulates the core sponsors of this resolution: Vietnam, Bangladesh and the Philippines for their hard work and continued commitment to this issue, and further commends the dedication of other sponsors of the resolution.