Lima Outcome Fails to Respond to Urgent Climate Crisis

COP20 Round-Up

December 16, 2014

The Twentieth Conference of Parties (COP20) to the UNFCCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) ended around 3am on Sunday, 14 December, two days over schedule. On the table this year included a decision on a comprehensive draft of a new climate agreement- which should be adopted at the COP21 in Paris, France next year, as well as agreement on the information Countries will provide in relation to their climate commitments, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). 


However, after two weeks of negotiations, Parties made minimal progress on substantive issues for an agreement on the draft elements of the Paris Treaty, leaving these discussions to 2015, and adopted an extremely weak outcome on INDCs and pre-2020 ambition that fails to account for financing or loss and damage, nor does it provide a robust or ambitious roadmap for country contributions. As one colleague shared, the Lima Call for Climate Action, "suggests that countries could possibly do something about climate change whenever they feel is appropriate but really should not feel pressured to do so."


You can read several reactions and overviews of the outcome here: CARE International; OneWorld; Guardian; CAN International; Third World Network


The Women and Gender Constituency circulated a press release on Sunday highlighting the failure of this outcome to result in real action. WEDO's Bridget Burns stated, 

"Governments should be immediately implementing a renewable and safe energy transformation, protecting threatened ecosystems, and ensuring that the rights of the most vulnerable and impacted communities, including women, children and indigenous peoples and ecosystems are respected and protected, but here at COP 20 in Lima, in spite of working almost 2 days overtime, they did not come close to reaching this goal."

The release shared views from women leaders around the world, and concluded that:
"From now to Paris we need leadership at all levels - local, national and international. And we need leaders to deal seriously and honestly with the crux of these talks - global inequality and historical responsibility - and to make progress on a fair, just, equitable and transformative global partnership to combat the ever escalating climate crisis."


Gender Equality at COP20

One of WEDO's priorities heading into COP20 was to see the adoption of a new decision on gender equality under the COP Standing Agenda Item on Gender and Climate Change (SBI 16). The Standing Agenda item is a result of the Decision 23/CP.18 in Doha, which focused on enhancing gender balance and women's participation in the UNFCCC delegations, boards and bodies. 


Since that decision, which included mandates for submissions and a workshop at COP19 in Warsaw, Parties have worked alongside civil society to outline the elements of a new decision to take forward action and implementation, not simply on gender balance in the negotiations, but on gender equality and gender-responsive climate policy. 


This work led to the launch of the  'Lima Work Programme on Gender', which aims to advance implementation of gender-responsive climate policies and mandates across all areas of the negotiations. The decision establishes a two year work programme that includes: 1) a review of implementation of all gender-related mandates by the UNFCCC Secretariat; 2) training and awareness raising for delegates on gender-responsive climate policy; 3) training and capacity building for women delegates; 4) two in-session workshops on gender (in relation to mitigation, technology, adaptation & capacity building) at SBI 42&44; 5) submissions by Parties on these workshops; 6) a technical paper by the Secretariat on guidelines for implementing gender considerations in climate change activities; and 7) appointing a senior focal point on gender at the UNFCCC Secretariat.  


It is a welcome step in moving beyond words on paper to supporting implementation of gender-responsive climate policies. However, it was not adopted without challenges, with governments trading language on "gender equality" for "gender balance."


In the end, Parties backed down on the language in order to ensure an outcome under the agenda item. Mexico stood out as a sole leader to negotiate for gender equality language to the very end, insisting they would not back down from already agreed language in the UNFCCC decisions. The decision, Lima Gender Work Programme, does now contain two references to gender equality in mandates and language in the preamble. 


Under the ADP, the draft elements text for the new Paris agreement has language on gender in the Preamble, and in relation to adaptation, finance and capacity building. Additionally, on the final day of negotiations on the outcome regarding pre-2020 ambition and INDCs, Philippines and Ghana called for a recognition of human rights and women's rights in the outcome, supported by Mexico who called for gender equality, and the inclusion of 'women and youth' as experts in relation to pre-2020 ambition was supported by the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, and Thailand. The final outcome now includes women and youth as experts to be engaged in defining actions with high mitigation potential. 


WEDO and its partners will work to ensure progress is achieved with this new decision, and WEDO is committed to a strong outcome on gender equality in the new climate agreement. However, as stated in the release of the Women and Gender Constituency, we insist that a fundamental framework of a strong "rights-based" agreement must be the goal for COP 21 to be held in Paris, France, in 2015. Without gender equality, women's rights, indigenous peoples' rights and climate justice - including financing for loss and damage, a rapid transition to safe and renewable energies, massive commitment and emissions reductions by the developed world, and full participation of those most impacted - the programme of work to be done will be incubated and launched within an empty shell and will do little to support the lives of millions or protect the precious ecosystems upon which we depend for our survival.


Events, Articles, Video and More: COP20 Round-Up


Women and Gender Constituency

You can find great wrap up information from Women and Gender Constituency activities on the WGC website.




And, of course, updates on our Twitter account


Global Landscapes Forum 2014

The Global Landscapes Forum 2014 (GLF 2014) took place at the Westin Hotel in Lima on December 6th and 7th.  CIAT and GGCA members (including WEDO, IUCNREFACOF, andRECOFTC) coordinated a learning space, called the Gender Pavilion, to inform and engage conference participants and share their work highlighting the critical link between gender and the landscapes approach in research, finance, mitigation, adaptation, biodiversity conservation, poverty alleviation, and the international climate negotiations. The Pavilion also provided an open space for knowledge-sharing among gender, forestry, business, and governmental experts, facilitating important linkages with these sectors for future work.


At the panel "Gender and resilience across the landscape: Lessons from Latin America, Africa and Asia," coordinated by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), WEDO's Eleanor Blomstrom updated on gender in the negotiations and also stressed the importance and critical need for more research on the divergent effects climate change has on women and men, especially in the decision-making process at the local and international level. The other panelists (including experts from the University of Missouri, International Potato Center (CIP), and Ministry of Culture, Peru) further detailed how these differences affect access to technology, finance, support in the face of climate shocks, and dissemination of information.


Speakers on several panels throughout the conference - including on forest finance, human rights, food security, and climate-smart agriculture - placed emphasis on the need for gender equality on all levels, from community-based research to the international climate policy negotiations, to achieve true climate resilience. Several related CIFOR Blogs addressed gender: Gender inequality merits greater attention in climate decisions: panelIn face of climate change, gender imbalance stretches from fields to forums-expertand


Gender Day 

On Tuesday, December 9th, Lima hosted the UNFCCC's 3rd Gender Day where all parties and constituencies involved used the day to host activities emphasizing the links between gender and climate change, with a strong call for action to all parties to advocate for gender equality.


The day began with a breakfast meeting with the Network of Women Ministers and Leaders for the Environment that presented participants with the Beijing Platform for Action +20, and also included a presentation on the Sustainable Development Goals and the status of the progress made so far to integrate gender into the SDGs. While some members of the WGC attended this breakfast meeting, others attended the ceremonial tree planting event at the San Borja Park that was dedicated to WEDO co-founder, friend and ally, Wangari Maathai.


Press conference 1- WATCH

Members of the Women and Gender Constituency launched events for the day with a Press Conference framed around, Achieving Gender Equality and Women's Human Rights on a Just, Equitable and Healthy Planet. The WGC found it most appropriate to use gender day as an opportunity for 'renaming and reframing'. Members of the constituency engaged in various events throughout the day emphasizing the urgency for gender equality. The press conference urged parties to acknowledge that gender equality and women's human rights are at the core of a just, equitable and healthy planet. Panelists included Sabine Bock, Women in Europe for a common Future (WECF); Ana Rojas, Global Gender and Climate Alliance; Mrinalini Rai, Global Forest Coalition; Priscilla Achakpa, Women Environmental Program; Liane Schalatek, Heinrich-B�ll-Stiftung North America; and Tetet Lauron, IBON International.


High-level event on Gender and Climate Change

The UNFCCC High-level event on Gender and Climate Change was opened by COP President H.E. Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal. Mary Robinson, in her capacity as United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Change, delivered an inspirational talk that focused on next steps for the gender and climate change movement. Quoting Dr. Wangari Maathai, Mary Robinson challenged the audience to act on gender equality.

Men and Women Taking Action on Gender Equality and Climate Change: How Far Have We Come?
Men and Women Taking Action on Gender Equality and Climate Change: How Far Have We Come?

Climate Change Studio

WEDO's Bridget Burns and Sabine Bock from WECF make a strong case for the urgency to understand women's rights as human rights. The interview recognizes the space that gender equality advocates have created in the UNFCCC process to address the social dimensions of climate change, through illustrating the clear links between women's rights and human rights, which has raised awareness of this issue. Through the interview, Bridget Burns and Sabine Bock discuss the importance of bringing local realities of communities to the halls of the COP; however, one of the greatest challenges they identify is the disconnect between the perspectives of the negotiators and the perspectives from communities who are actively working on the grassroots level. The full interview may be viewed here.


Bridget Burns, WEDO  y Sabine Bock, WECF
Bridget Burns, WEDO and Sabine Bock, WECF

Several other Constituency members also gave interviews which can be found here.


Press Conference 2- WATCH
 In the second press conference of the day, members of the WGC spoke From the Ground to the Conference Hall - Actions and Demands for Women's Rights and Climate Justice. Panelists included, Alina Saba, Mugal Women's Uplift Institute; Nafisah Abubakar, Rural Women Energy Security Program; Kalyani Raj, All India Women's Conference; Agnes Otzelberger, CARE International; Osprey Orielle Lake, Women's Earth & Climate Action Network; and Carmen Capriles, Reacci�n Clim�tica. The panelists presented some of their organizations' research, and in their capacity, reflected on their different experiences to make specific demands to parties and negotiators in hopes for a climate just agreement. 


UN Women- Ms. Lakshmi Puri joins the Women and Gender Constituency

Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary General of UN Women, joined members of the Women and Gender Constituency, including delegates and civil society, to discuss concerns and opportunities for engagement on gender equality and climate change issues. The event allowed members to speak to their local experiences and to identify leveraging opportunities moving forward. 

Cocktail Event

To wrap up the events of Gender Day, IUCN, UNDP, WEDO and UN Women hosted a cocktail event that brought together various parties, constituencies and individuals to applaud advancements made towards gender equality, and to encourage continued action toward a gender-responsive post-2015 agreement.

Key Gender-related media coverage


WEDO team members published the below articles during COP20, focused on the interlinkages between gender and climate change. The articles emphasize the intersectionality of gender relating to disaster risk reduction, health, forests and transportation.


WEDO Fellow, Camille Andre, kicked off COP20 launching WEDO's latest report, Ensuring Women's Access and Influence on Climate Change Policy, highlighting the Women Delegates Fund (WDF) program, which works to enhance women's participation and leadership in climate negotiations.


In her article, DRR: Coherence, Rights and Resilience, WEDO's Eleanor Blomstrom presents readers with a case for the importance of a diverse leadership for effective decision making to appropriately address disasters, climate change and sustainable development. The article also emphasizes that gender equality should be at the core of disaster risk reduction strategies and such strategies should also include investments in health services.


Yeniva Massaquoi and Latha Swamy further explore The fundamental link between climate change, health and gender and identify that climate change impacts are not gender neutral. As the primary household collectors of water and fuel, women bear the added burden of climate change impacts in the case presented.


WEDO's Latha Swamy interviewed Gertrude Kabusimbi Kenyangi in Connecting the dots: Relating forests and food to women's empowerment and community resilience at the COP20 negotiations. Ms. Kenyangi is from Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN) Uganda, and she is working at the grassroots level to enhance the resilience of women and their communities by establishing forest resources on their own lands.


On Human Rights Day, Yeniva Massaquoi shared The Underbelly of Article (6): Instrumentalizing the Right to Public Participation under the UNFCCC, highlighting the importance of protections for women's human rights and environmental defenders. 


In Including gender considerations in transportation: An important step towards mitigation, Beatrice Mauger and Gina Stovall from WEDO investigate the role that transport systems should have in recognizing the diversity of users, and that by collecting and analyzing gender differentiated data, transportation services can be more gender responsive.


Other gender-related articles published during COP20 included:

Gender and climate change also featured in IISD (Increasing the Resilience of Farming Communities to Climate Change through Shared Learning and Adaptation Decision-Making With a Focus on Gender) and in Third World Network (TWN) overviews in TWN Update 4, TWN Update 5 and TWN Update 9. Overall, the TWN profiled conversations on gender equality by the European Union (EU), Nepal and Bolivia.




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