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Gender and Climate Change

Gender and Climate Change

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Published by: ADBGAD on Dec 11, 2012
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The e-Newsletter of the Gender Network
 
December 2012 | Vol. 6, No. 3
Front and Center: Mainstreaming Gender in ClimateChange Responses
by Irish-fe N. Aguilar
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 A fishing village in Siem Reap builds its houses on high stilts to adapt to the risingwater level of the river during wet season. In another village where farming is themain source of livelihood, floods have forced some members of the community tomigrate in search of better income options. While floods are common occurrences inSiem Reap during the wet season, the increase in frequency, duration, and intensityof rains brought by climate change make it more difficult for these communities tocope, given their geographical location and economic conditions
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.For women living in these communities, the implications are significantly worse astheir ability to respond is determined by their gender roles. With limited skills,access to basic services, and control over resources, often the only coping strategyavailable to women is to expand their workloads and increase their work hours.Women take on additional domestic chores and income-generating activities torespond to the loss of income and property, and illnesses in the family brought bysevere changes in weather conditions.However, opportunities exist to address this situation and empower localcommunities, especially women, to become more resilient to the impact of climatechange. For example, the women from the rice and vegetable community in SiemReap have learned to adapt to climate change by planting short-term seeds thatproduce before the flood season begins. When crop losses become inevitable dueto floods, most women utilized loan facilities from local cooperatives to enable themto buy new seeds and farm animals. These underscore the importance of institutionalizing gender measures in climate change interventions to build women’sresilience to natural hazards and increase their chances at survival.At the
program and project level
, most of the measures adopted to respond toclimate change focus on technical aspects (i.e., decreasing carbon emission andpreserving carbon sinks), and provide little consideration to the human and socialaspects of the phenomenon. This means that the programs and projects that are
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Social Development Officer (Gender and Development), Poverty Reduction Gender and Social Development(RSGS), Regional and Sustainable Development Department (RSDD).
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Based on field visits in Kampong Pluk Commune and Khnart Commune in Siem Reap conducted as part of theTraining Course on Mainstreaming Gender in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, International Institute forRural Reconstruction, Siem Reap, 19-30 March 2012.
 
 
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being implemented in local communities have no explicit gender design measures,and fail to recognize women’s needs and to directly benefit them.To avoid this, gender analysis should be at the forefront in designing any programor project addressing climate change. This can be done by integrating genderanalysis to existing climate change
adaptation
approaches, methods and tools(e.g. Vulnerability to Resilience, Community-Based Risk Screening Tool: Adaptationand Livelihoods (CRiSTAL), Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis, ClimateSmart Disaster Risk Management, Ecosystem-based Adaptation and Local AdaptiveCapacity Framework) to ensure that programs and projects are gender-responsive.For example, CRiSTAL
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is a tool that integrates risk reduction and climate changeadaptation into community-level projects. It collects information on the climaterelated-hazards in the community; the livelihood resources affected by theseclimate hazards; and the importance of these livelihood resources in implementingcommunity coping strategies. However, it fails to take into consideration genderdifferences in its approach. Integrating gender tools (i.e. gathering sex-disaggregated data, examining the gender-division of labor; and determining whohas access and control over community resources) will enable project managers tobetter understand how men and women in the community are differently affectedby climate change and, as a result, design and implement measures that wouldimprove both men and women’s adaptive capacity and reduce their vulnerability.While gender-specific interventions may vary depending on the nature of theproject and the sector focus, building women’s skills and providing them withaccess to resources help ensure that adaptation measures implemented in thecommunity are gender-responsive. In the agriculture sector where women usuallymanage small farms, providing women with access to crop insurance, short-termcrops, and rice banks will help them better respond to production losses broughtabout by climate change.
 
In the same manner, gender measures can be incorporated in
mitigationinterventions
such as the Reduced Emission from Deforestation and ForestDegeneration (REDD)
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by building the capacity of women to participate effectivelyin REDD negotiations and processes, and recognizing their role in natural resourcesmanagement. A community forestry REDD project implemented in Oddar Meanchayby Pact, an international NGO, has taken on this approach by supporting (i) genderequity in participation and decision-making, (ii) forest tenure and gender-differentiated access to forest resources, and (iii) knowledge and skills/capacities,and equity in benefit-sharing
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.
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 http://www.iisd.org/cristaltool/faqs.aspx 
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REDD is a mechanism established to create a monetary value to the carbon stored in forests, and offer incentivesto developing countries to reduce emissions from forest lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainabledevelopment.
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The Project involves 13 community forestry groups, comprised of 58 villages, which protect 67,783 hectares of forestland in the Northwestern province of Oddar Meanchey. The Project will be one of the first to use a newmethodology and be submitted under both the Voluntary Carbon Standard and the Climate Community andBiodiversity Alliance guidelines. The project is expected to sequester 7.1 million metric tons of CO2 over 30 years.

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