As we have heard, women should, can and do play a critical role in environmental protection and climate action. Women are often the most affected by changes to the environment, but under-represented in the policy response to address them. When women are included at the political level we see greater responsiveness to citizen’s needs, often increasing cooperation across otherwise divided lines. At the local level, women’s leadership leads to improved outcomes of climate-related projects and policies.
Parties to the UNFCCC have recognised the importance of involving women and men equally. The Paris Agreement committed all signatories, when taking action to address climate change, to respect, promote and consider gender equality. Parties acknowledged that adaptation action and capacity-building should be gender-responsive.
As well as being a signatory to these commitments, the UK recognises the important role women can and should play as contributors to the protection of the environment through our COP26 Presidency.
For example, we are supporting the ‘Women Negotiator Mentoring Initiative’ to level the playing field between women and men in international climate negotiations. We have joined the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Initiative to advance women’s participation in the clean energy revolution and enable greater gender diversity in the clean energy professions. And in January we committed to improving the gender-responsiveness of climate finance, including by addressing existing gaps in its provision, and calling on others to do the same.
Finally, we are committed to collecting data, building the evidence-base and enhancing knowledge on the differentiated impacts of climate change. Evidence that a gender-sensitive approach to protecting the environment is strong. But we can always better inform gender-responsive and inclusive policy-making and planning. This capacity-building facilitation is one area where the OSCE could find a role.