COP 21 from the women’s perspective

Following two weeks of negotiations during the Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, the 195 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted the Paris Agreement on 12 December 2015 (full text available here).
The Global Catholic Climate Movement
The Paris Agreement’s main aim is “Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels” (binding), and countries further agreed “to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.” (Article 2)  The Agreement also includes the pledges to cut emissions and set the long-term goal to get off fossil fuels (although there is no clear timeline). Furthermore, the Agreement creates a 5-year Review Mechanism for countries to review their emissions reduction targets and set new, more ambitious cuts. However, there is no accountability mechanism for countries’ failure to comply to the Agreement.
Combating climate change and its impacts, which has important linkages with gender equality and human rights, is included in the SDGs (Goal 13). Unfortunately, despite strong efforts from women’s rights advocates, references to women’s and human rights were moved to non-binding parts in the final draft of the Paris Agreement. The weak references to gender include the following:
  • “Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights . . . as well as gender equality, empowerment of women,” (Introduction)
  • “Parties acknowledge that adaptation action should follow a country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory and fully transparent approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems,”(Article 7)
  • Capacity-building . . . should be an effective, iterative process that is participatory, cross-cutting and gender-responsive,” (Article 11)
  • Gender balance in the Committee established in the document to facilitate implementation and promote compliance (Article 15; see also paragraph 103 of decision)
Please see further articles and resources on COP21 and women working in climate justice:

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