Gender equality and climate change: Glasgow Women's Leadership statement

Joint statement published by the Scottish Government and UN Women at COP26 calling for the role of women and girls to be advanced in addressing climate change.

Climate change can have a serious impact on the enjoyment of human rights, including enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, an adequate standard of living including food and safe drinking water and sanitation, and decent work for individuals in communities across the world. Climate change exacerbates existing inequalities, including gender inequality.

We believe that the fight against climate change must be closely connected to the fight against gender inequality, and agree that ensuring women’s and girls’ leadership is vital if global efforts to tackle climate change are to succeed. Women and girls are commonly disproportionately affected by climate change and face greater risks and burdens from its impacts, particularly in situations of poverty. Despite increased vulnerability to climate impacts, we recognise that women and girls have been creating and leading innovative climate solutions at all levels. One of the great injustices of the climate crisis is that the people and countries who are worst affected are those who have contributed least to its causes.

We therefore call for all climate actions to recognise the differentiated impact of climate change by factors such as age, gender, disability and location, and ensure women's and girls’ voice and agency and their full and effective participation and leadership in policy and decision-making at community, national and international levels, and increase ambition in all sectors.

We are grateful to those who have led efforts to date at government, intergovernmental, private sector and civil society levels to advance the interests of women and girls in climate action. We particularly acknowledge women leaders, especially young women and girls at all levels who have championed this agenda, and commit to pushing forward their work including through increased financing, broadening partnerships, and advocacy. We welcome the dedicated agenda item under the UNFCCC addressing issues of gender and climate change and the 5-year enhanced Lima work programme on gender and its gender action plan agreed at COP 25. We hope to see strong efforts by all stakeholders to implement the activities included in the GAP.

We acknowledge parallel efforts to promote gender equality in climate change policies, programmes and initiatives, including the UN Secretary General’s initiative on Gender and Climate Change, launched at the Global Climate Action Summit 2019, and the Feminist Action for Climate Justice action coalition under the Generation Equality Forum. We encourage all countries yet to pledge action under these important initiatives to do so before the sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) in March 2022. At CSW 66, we will work towards achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.

We agree on the importance of achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, notably Sustainable Development Goal 5 on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. We agree that concrete actions are needed to improve women’s and girls’ participation and leadership in all climate actions.

We join together as women leaders to call on all leaders -- women and men – both in government and civil society - to commit to increased and sustained support for women’s and girls’ climate change initiatives at the national and global levels in order to achieve sustainable progress towards meeting the challenges of the climate crisis.

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