Gender-responsive adaptation is better adaptation.
Experience has shown us that taking into account gender dynamics in designing and implementing adaptation approaches helps ensure sustainability and greater impact. Drawing on UNDP’s experience, the following six entry points examine concrete examples of what gender-responsive approaches look like. Each entry point examines a different series of issues and presents lessons learned on how to better integrate gender into adaptation.
Why gender-responsive adaptation?
The impacts of climate change are not gender neutral, so strategies to address them cannot be gender neutral. Men and women have differing coping and adaptive capacities - and different access to and control over resources - that translate to both gender-differentiated vulnerabilities to the impacts of a changing climate, and differentiated strengths to adapt to these changes. While climate change often intensifies existing economic and social gender disparities, gender-responsive adaptation addresses these disparities, while also enhancing adaptation outcomes and strengthening gender equality.
How to design and implement gender-responsive adaptation?
Capturing the experiences of both women and men provide a greater perspective and increased knowledge, which helps design a more comprehensive and sustainable adaptation approach. Inclusive consultation with both men and women at the design and implementation phases of projects provides a thorough and considered approach representative of the strengths that both genders generate. In particular, women are valuable and integral contributors to climate change adaptation. Often seen solely as vulnerable beneficiaries, women are effective agents, leaders and decision-makers in the efforts to adapt to climate change.
Linking gender-responsive adaptation to broader climate change policy and planning
Integrating gender into adaptation approaches is only one part of the equation; mitigation responses also require a consideration of gender dynamics and opportunities in order to successfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, providing renewable energy sources to rural communities will have direct impact on women – who bear the brunt of fetching fuelwood, gathering water, cooking and undertaking time-consuming domestic chores. Many women also provide the opportunity for entrepreneurship, building green-minded businesses. Integrating adaptation and mitigation responses can both contribute to local and national climate change policies, such as the Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans, and support achievement of the Paris Agreements, 2030 Agenda, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and other global accords. A recent UNDP study, ‘Gender Equality in National Climate Action: Planning for Gender-Responsive Nationally Determined Contributions’, indicates that of the 161 submitted Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs), only 63 countries made at least one reference to gender equality or women.