Climate Change – discussion at IAW Congress

Natalie KostusThe 37th International Alliance of Women Triennial Congress convening in Nicosia Cyprus adopted the new IAW Action Programme 2018-2020 with the Climate Change Pillar on Thursday, October 26, 2017.

The Congress held a session on the New Action Programme on Climate Change on Wednesday, October 25, 2017, led by Natalie Kostus, Vice President, Chair of the Commission on Climate Change, and Representative to the United Nations, IAW. The session focused on the main elements and implementation in the context of international climate change negotiations and experiences from IAW member organizations.

The session fulfilled items (1), (1.3), and (1.3.1) of the new climate change pillar: enhancing the connection between global policy on climate change and IAW member organizations that work on the ground, and organizing an interactive meeting at the Congress to exchange information and to finalize the Action Programme.

Natalie presented the progress and current trends in the international climate change negotiations. The Paris Agreement on Climate Change entered into force on November 4, 2016, and was ratified by 170 Parties to date. All parties to the Paris Agreement committed to keep the increase in global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Natalie highlighted: the lack of enforcement mechanism, inadequate current pledges to limit emissions, and insufficient current finance pledges.

Natalie stressed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change includes a mandate on gender equality and empowerment of women. Furthermore, the enhanced Lima Work Programme on Gender includes commitments to develop gender action plan and nominate gender focal points, increase the representation and active participation of women, establish annual in-session workshops, integrate gender in the UNFCCC process and the financial mechanism, integrate gender and traditional knowledge in national climate policy and actions, and recognize the value of participation of grassroots women.

Natalie presented the Gender Action Plan under the UNFCCC aimed to support the implementation of gender-related decisions and mandates. Possible elements include: (a) Capacity building, knowledge sharing, and communication; (b) Gender balance, participation and women’s leadership; (c) Coherence with the UNFCCC and other UN agencies; (d) Gender-responsible implementation and Means of Implementation (MoI), and (e) Monitoring and reporting.

The New Action Programme on Climate Change was written by Natalie Kostus and is the result of extensive consultations with over twenty leaders of IAW. This engagement across the IAW is a huge success. Natalie thanked for all of the contributions.

Natalie presented the main action items of the Climate Change Pillar for the New IAW Action Programme 2018-2020 that will guide the work of IAW on climate change in the coming years.

The New IAW Action Programme on Climate Change 2018-2020 recognizes climate change as a threat to women’s rights and human rights, and the connection between climate change and all other action programme pillars: on justice, democracy, peace, economy, elimination of violence against women, and health. The New IAW Action Programme on Climate Change 2018-2020 makes commitments on implementation actions in three main parts.

Part 1 of the New Action Programme on Climate Change focuses on implementation actions within the IAW, that enhance the connection between global policy on climate change and member organizations that work on the ground. Action items in Part 1 include: support to member organizations to engage in climate change policy on global, national and local levels; facilitate exchange of information; organize interactive meetings and workshops at the IAW Congress (on policy processes and actions), at the IAW Board Metting (on thematic areas to enhance work on issues) and at the International Meeting (on policy outcomes and opportunities for input).

Part 2 of the New Action Programme on Climate Change focuses on the policy that IAW promotes, recognizing women’s priorities, specific indicators, and adequate financing. Policy items in Part 2 include recognition for: ground realities of different countries, urgency of climate change and sustainable development interlinkages, socio-economic rights and climate resilience, disaster risk reduction and climate refugees, women climate refugees and migrants, rural women and women food producers, indigenous women and biodiversity protection, rights and children and rights of girls, climate change and women’s health, sexual and reproductive rights, and measures to contain population growth.

Part 3 of the New Action Programme on Climate Change focuses on the IAW engagement in the global climate change policy development under the UNFCCC. Action items in Part 3 include: obtaining UNFCCC observer status, contributing to negotiations process, providing recommendations and written inputs, implementing Paris Agreement, and joining efforts with women’s groups.

The session concluded with interactive discussion and experience sharing from member organizations.

Dr. Manju Kak, Hon. Treasurer of the All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) and Vice President of IAW, called to include in the future IAW work on climate change: the political dimension of the UNFCCC negotiations on climate change and the need for technology transfer from developed to manufacturing developing countries. Manju presented on the AIWC programmes and initiatives on climate change, mobilizing women for climate justice, building capacity, and developing policy recommendations, and engaging in the UNFCCC negotiations. Natalie applauded the work of AIWC and pointed out that out of all of the countries represented at the IAW Congress, India is the only one that includes gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

Ruhi Sayid of the All Pakistan Women’s Association (APWA) and Executive Vice President of IAW spoke about raising awareness for women in Pakistan to reduce emissions and pollution. Joanna Manganara, President of IAW and Lyda Verstegen, Honorary President of IAW, pointed out the need to reflect both priorities of developed and developing countries in the IAW work on climate change. Alison Brown of IAW highlighted how the new Action Programme reflects priorities of developing countries. Arina Angerman, Representative to the European Women’s Lobby of, raised the European Union perspective on climate change. Rosy Weiss, Treasurer of IAW, spoke about the need for another session on climate change next year in 2018 at the Board Meeting in Berlin.

The IAW Congress supported, by consensus, to stress the political aspect of the climate change negotiations and the need for technology transfer in the future work on climate change and to organize a session on climate change in Berlin. The IAW Congress adopted by consensus the new IAW Action Programme 2018-2020 Climate Change Pillar, as proposed without any changes.