Procedure : 2011/2197(INI)
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Document selected : A7-0049/2012

Texts tabled :

A7-0049/2012

Debates :

PV 20/04/2012 - 6
CRE 20/04/2012 - 6

Votes :

PV 20/04/2012 - 10.8
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2012)0145

REPORT     
PDF 234kDOC 154k
9 March 2012
PE 476.093v03-00 A7-0049/2012

on women and climate change

(2011/2197(INI))

Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality

Rapporteur: Nicole Kiil-Nielsen

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on women and climate change

(2011/2197(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Articles 2 and 3(3), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 8 March 2011 entitled ‘A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050’ (COM(2011)0112),

–   having regard to the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in September 1995, the Declaration and the Platform for Action adopted in Beijing and the subsequent outcome documents adopted at the United Nations Beijing +5, +10 and +15 Special Sessions on further actions and initiatives to implement the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action adopted respectively on 9 June 2000, 11 March 2005 and 2 March 2010,

–   having regard to Article 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–   having regard to the UNFCCC Decision 36/CP.7 on Improving the participation of women in the representation of Parties in bodies established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol of 9 November 2001,

–   having regard to the United Nations Millennium Declaration of 18 September 2000,

–   having regard to the United Nations Convention of 18 December 1979 on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),

–   having regard to its resolution of 17 November 2011 on gender mainstreaming in the work of the European Parliament(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 November 2011 on the climate change conference in Durban (COP 17)(2),

–   having regard to its resolution of 29 September 2011 on developing a common EU position ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 4 February 2009 on ‘2050: The future begins today – Recommendations for the EU’s future integrated policy on climate change’(4),

–   having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2008 on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development Cooperation(5),

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0049/2012),

A. whereas climate change is not gender-neutral and does have gender-differentiated effects;

B.  whereas consumption and lifestyle patterns have a significant impact on climate change;

C.  whereas women represent approximately 50 % of the world’s population and whereas they still have relatively more responsibility for everyday consumption choices, childcare and household activities; whereas consumption patterns differ between women and men, as women consume more sustainably than men and show greater willingness to act to preserve the environment by making sustainable consumption choices;

D. whereas due to gendered roles, women’s impact on the environment is not the same as men’s, and their access to resources and ways to cope and adapt is severely affected by discrimination in terms of income, access to resources, political power, education and household responsibility;

E.  whereas climate change will amplify inequalities and there is a risk that climate change policies will also have a negative impact on gender balance and women’s rights if they do not take gender discrimination into account from the very start;

F.  whereas there will not be any climate justice without true gender equality, and whereas the elimination of inequalities and the fight against climate change should not be seen as contradictory;

G.  whereas democracy, respect for human rights and equality of opportunity between men and women contribute to sustainable development and environmental protection;

H. whereas sources of discrimination and vulnerability other than gender (such as poverty, geography, traditional and institutional discrimination, race, etc.) all combine to obstruct access to resources and to means to cope with dramatic changes such as climate change;

I.   whereas in some regions, almost 70 % of all employed women work in agriculture(6) and produce up to 90 % of some crops(7), yet they are virtually absent from budget deliberations and climate change activities;

J.   whereas, while 70 % of poor people living on less than USD 1 per day are women, women own less than 1 % of the world’s property; whereas, compared with men, women in developing countries reinvest considerably more of their income in their families;

K.  whereas family planning can significantly improve maternity health and control over family size and ultimately increase the independence and reduce the workload of women who are still seen as primarily responsible for childcare, increasing the resilience of women and their families to climate change impacts, as indicated in the 20-year plan adopted by the International Conference on Population and Development;

L.  whereas environmental problems – caused and exacerbated by climate change – are currently responsible for the growth of forced migration, and whereas there is therefore an increasing link between asylum-seekers and areas of environmental decline; whereas there is a need for better protection and resettlement of ‘climate refugees’, and for special attention to be given to women who are most vulnerable;

M. whereas between 75 and 80 % of the world’s 27 million refugees are women and children(8); whereas migrations induced by climate change will affect men and women differently and women often more severely; whereas special provisions regarding health, security and independence are necessary to reduce the vulnerability of women in these cases of forced or voluntary migration;

N. whereas the proportion of women in political decision-making and especially in climate change negotiations is still unsatisfactory and little to no progress has been made; whereas women account for only 12 to 15 % of heads of delegation and around 30 % of the delegates;

O. whereas two thirds of the world's illiterate persons are women(9) and access to information and training via appropriate communication channels is therefore critical to ensuring their independence and inclusion, in particular in cases of emergency such as natural disasters;

P. whereas natural disasters have a major medium- and long-term effect on education, health, structural poverty and population displacement, and whereas children make up a group particularly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters; whereas there is a clear link between the occurrence of disasters and reductions in the level of school attendance, and whereas disasters exacerbate considerably the gender gap at school level;

Q.  whereas droughts and water shortages resulting from climate change force women to work more in order to provide water, food and energy, and whereas young people frequently abandon school to help their mothers in these tasks;

R.  whereas women are also powerful agents of change and are globally more active in civil society activities, and their full participation in every aspect of the fight against climate change would ensure fairer and more comprehensive and effective policies to tackle climate change, with regard to both adaptation and mitigation aspects;

S.  whereas, on account of their responsibilities when it comes to managing scarce natural resources, women acquire important knowledge regarding the need for a more sustainable environment, giving them a potential role to play – which should not be disregarded – in improving adaptation and attenuation strategies for climate change;

T.  whereas mechanisms or financing for disaster prevention, adaptation and mitigation will remain insufficient unless they incorporate women’s full participation in design processes, decision making and implementation; whereas good practices from, for example, Tunisia, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras have demonstrated that women’s knowledge and participation save lives through disaster management, boost biodiversity, improve water management, enhance food security, prevent desertification, protect forests and support public health;

General provisions

1.  Recognising that climate change exacerbates gender discrimination in addition to its other catastrophic effects, emphasises that averting dangerous climate change must be the highest priority of the EU both in domestic and external policy;

2.  Calls on the Commission and the Council, in order to ensure that climate action does not increase gender inequalities but results in co-benefits to the situation of women, to mainstream and integrate gender in every step of climate policies, from conception to financing, implementation and evaluation;

3   Calls on the Commission and the Member States to include – at all levels of decision-making – gender equality and gender justice objectives in policies, action plans and other measures relating to sustainable development, disaster risk and climate change, by carrying out systematic gender analyses, establishing gender-sensitive indicators and benchmarks and developing practical tools; underlines that the climate change negotiation process must take into account the principles of gender equality at all stages, from research and analysis to design and implementation and the development of mitigation and adaptation strategies;

4   Recalls that, in its 4th Assessment Report of 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed that the impact of climate change varies according to gender, age and class, with the poor being most likely to suffer the most; takes the view that achieving gender equality is key to human development and is a fundamental objective in the fight against poverty; demands that a gender-based approach be applied across the board in the drawing-up of development, human rights and climate change policies; calls for steps to be taken to ensure that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) acts in accordance with human rights frameworks and with national and international agreements on gender equality and equity, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW);

5.. Highlights the fact that climate change and its negative impacts should also be regarded as a development issue with gender implications that is relevant to all sectors (social, cultural, economic and political), from the local to the global level, and that concerted efforts are required by all stakeholders to ensure that climate change and disaster risk reduction measures are gender-responsive, sensitive to indigenous people and respectful of human rights;

6.  Welcomes the growing awareness of the gender aspect of climate change in the high-level climate talks, and interventions by high-level actors; stresses however the need to see concrete action to include more women ,in EU climate diplomacy, at all levels of decision-making and especially in climate change negotiations, by means of measures such as introducing 40 %+ quotas in the delegations;

7.  Reminds the Commission and the Member States of its resolution on the climate change conference in Durban (COP 17), and urges them to act on its commitment to ‘strive for female representation of at least 40% in all relevant bodies’ for climate financing; underlines the need to apply this principle to technology transfer and adaptation bodies as well;

8.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to collect country-specific and gender-disaggregated data when planning, implementing and evaluating climate change policies, programmes and projects, in order effectively to assess and address the differing effects of climate change on each gender and to produce a guide on adapting to climate change, outlining policies that can protect women and empower them to cope with the effects of climate change;

9.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to mainstream gender-sensitive statistics in all environment-related policy areas, in order to improve the measurement of the general situation of women and men with regard to climate change;

10. Recalls that the inclusion in EU foreign policy of issues relating to the promotion of gender equality and the elimination of discrimination should continue to contribute to women playing a central role in decision-making, policy formation, the management, conservation and monitoring of natural resources and of the environment, and efforts to combat climate change;

11. Calls for a ‘climate-friendly’ indicator (as an alternative to GNP) to monitor how growth, consumption and lifestyle patterns influence climate change;

12. Calls on the EU and the Member States to assess to what extent climate-related policies take account of women’s needs, and urges them to apply a gender-based perspective when formulating gender-sensitive sustainable development policy;

Adaptation

13. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to set up easy-to-use tools for gender impact assessments of projects throughout project life-cycles, such as the tools used for development projects;

14. Calls for inclusive local solutions and projects, including built-in awareness of existing vulnerabilities and capacities to cope, such as the traditional experiences and knowledge of indigenous people, and in particular women;

15. Points out that women are globally very active at civil society level, and therefore calls on the Commission to facilitate and support the networking of women’s organisations and civil-society actors;

16. Calls on the Commission to envisage programmes whereby the transfer of modern technologies and know-how can help developing communities and regions adapt to climate change;

17. Points out that women play a crucial role in water abstraction and management in developing countries, as they are often the ones collecting, using and distributing water, not just in the home but also in farming; calls on the Commission to provide development aid for accessible programmes to sink wells using renewable energy sources and simple, easy-to-maintain water treatment systems;

18. Calls for the integration of gender-aware capacity-building and training into adaptation solutions, which must be compatible with the special needs of women and take into account the specific obstacles, but also capabilities and experiences, of women;

19. Highlights the importance of relying on the knowledge of women and encouraging local solutions that have very concrete influence on people’s daily lives, such as the project ‘Girls in Risk Reduction Leadership’ in South Africa, or several projects to help women’s groups install drinking water facilities and toilets in Indian slums;

20. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to integrate the gender issue into strategies for preventing and managing the risks associated with natural disasters, and to promote women's empowerment and awareness through capacity-building before, during and after climate-related disasters, along with their active involvement in disaster anticipation, early warning systems and risk prevention as part of their role in resilience-building;

21. Notes that in many communities around the world, women’s responsibilities in the family make them more vulnerable to environmental change, which is exacerbated by the impact of climate change; points out that they are being affected in their multiple roles as food producers and providers, caregivers and economic actors;

22. Calls for an increase in transparency and inclusiveness of existing mechanisms and planning processes, such as National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) and future National Adaptation Plans, and for these principles to be promoted in future climate-related treaties, mechanisms and bilateral cooperation efforts;

23. Emphasises that there is strong evidence that the impact on health of climate-sensitive conditions, such as malnutrition, and the incidence of infectious diseases, such as malaria, varies according to gender; notes with concern the high female mortality rate in disaster situations; takes the view that more gender-specific research into the impact of climate change on women's health would help to achieve a more targeted response; calls on all governments to make more efforts to ensure better prevention, treatment and access to medicine and drugs – especially for women, as they are a vulnerable group, particularly in their capacity as care providers –, to commit to a series of actions aimed at addressing the health risks associated with climate change, and to provide a framework for gender-based health risk assessments and adaptation/mitigation measures in relation to climate change;

24. Underlines that 70 % of the world’s poorest are women, who carry out two-thirds of all work done but own less than 1 % of all goods; notes that they are denied equal access to and control over resources, technology, services, land rights, credit and insurance systems and decision-making powers and are thus disproportionately vulnerable to, and affected by, climate change and have fewer opportunities to adapt; underlines that 85 % of people who die as a result of climate-induced natural disasters are women, that 75 % of environmental refugees are women, and that women are also more likely to be the unseen victims of resource wars and violence resulting from climate change;

25. Calls on the EU and its Member States to develop a principle of ‘climate justice’; insists that the greatest injustice of our failure to tackle climate change effectively would be the detrimental effects on poor countries and populations, and on women in particular;

Mitigation

26. Calls on the Commission and the upcoming Presidencies of the Council of the European Union to launch a study focusing specifically on the gender dimension of mitigation policies;

27. Emphasises that targeted policies are needed to avoid gender-segregation and discrimination in the green economy, where new technology and science jobs are already almost exclusively male-dominated; stresses, in this connection, the importance of entrepreneurship in terms of opening up the green economy to both women and men;

28. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to encourage women to pursue technical and scientific training and careers in the environmental and energy technology sectors, since the need for expertise in this area will guarantee women secure jobs with a stable future and ensure greater awareness of women’s needs when it comes to defining climate change policies;

29. Calls on the Commission to support a reform of existing mechanisms and funds to make them more transparent, inclusive and reflective of the contributions to emissions reductions by local communities and particularly women and to promote these principles in future climate-related treaties, mechanisms and bilateral cooperation efforts, with a view to developing better ways to ensure the economic empowerment of women;

30. Recognises that population growth has a climate impact, and highlights the need to respond adequately where the contraceptive needs of women and men in any society remain unmet;

31. Recalls that avoiding dangerous climate change and limiting the increase in average temperatures to 2° C, or 1.5° C if possible, compared with pre-industrial levels, is necessary and absolutely critical in order to avoid dramatic negative consequences for women and other vulnerable groups;

32. Calls on the Commission to set up a toolkit to encourage inclusive decision-making, as was done in the transport and energy sectors in Malmö (Sweden) and in the Vollsmose area (Denmark)(10);

33. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop indicators to evaluate the gender impact of projects and programmes and to promote gender budgeting in climate-related policies, whether these policies are conducted at international, national, regional or local levels;

34. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop tools and guidance for the gender analysis of mitigation policies and programmes, and related research programmes and activities;

35. Stresses the important role played by women in implementing mitigation measures in daily life, e.g. through energy- and water-saving practices, recycling measures and the use of eco-friendly and organic products, as they are still seen as the primary managers of these resources in the home; calls on the Commission to launch awareness-raising campaigns at the grassroots level, focusing on everyday consumption choices related to household and childcare activities;

36. Acknowledges, therefore, the significant contribution women can make to successful innovation through their capacity to educate others, both in business and in household management;

37. Underlines, in this connection, the importance of strengthening the active participation of women in innovation for sustainable development as a means of tackling the serious challenges posed by climate change;

38. Points out that climate change will inevitably lead to migration from regions affected by calamities such as droughts or floods, and that the EU must keep in mind the need to protect women in any camps set up for internally displaced persons and refugees;

39. Notes that the impact of environmental change on migration and displacement will increase in the future and that, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 80 % of the world’s refugees are women and children; reiterates the importance of identifying gender-sensitive strategies for responding to the environmental and humanitarian crises caused by climate change; takes the view, therefore, that urgent research is required on how to manage environmental migration in a gender-sensitive manner – this includes recognising and responding to gender roles and responsibilities in the area of natural resources and may include ensuring that scarce resources are available to communities in need and that water is provided for refugees;

Financing

40. Calls on the EU delegations to respect the principle set out in its aforementioned resolution on the climate change conference in Durban (COP 17), to ensure that gender balance in all climate finance decision-making bodies is guaranteed, including the Green Climate Fund Board and possible sub-boards for individual funding windows;

41. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop climate change mitigation and adaptation programmes and strategies that use gender analysis to improve the welfare of women and girls and take into account gender inequalities in access to credit, information, technology, land, natural resources, sustainable energy and reproductive health information and services; calls for such programmes and strategies to include innovative financing solutions such as micro-credit schemes, in particular in emergency cases such as those of climate refugees;

42.  Stresses the need for financing mechanisms to reflect women's priorities and needs, and for the active involvement of organisations that promote gender equality in the development of funding criteria and the allocation of resources for climate change initiatives, particularly at local level and in the activities of the Green Climate Fund;

43. Calls for the integration of gender equality as a cross-cutting issue in all climate funds and instruments; stresses that this integration requires gender expertise and should extend to the mission, governance and operational modalities of such financing mechanisms, and that operational modalities and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms should ensure that women and local communities benefit from adequate funding;

44. Calls on the Commission and the EU delegations to support scaled-up, new and additional funding particularly for adaptation actions which directly benefit women, who are often disproportionally vulnerable to climate change impacts; calls for the provision of such adaptation funding to be exclusively in the form of grants;

45. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support the development of renewable energy sources in developing countries, through transfers of technology and knowledge which involve the balanced participation of women, with a view to contributing simultaneously to both equal opportunities and climate change mitigation;

46. Points out with concern the negative impact climate change may have on the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals, in particular those linked to the condition and protection of women;

47. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments of the Member States.

(1)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0515.

(2)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0504.

(3)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0430.

(4)

OJ C 67E, 18.3.2010, p. 44.

(5)

OJ C 66E, 20.3.2009, p. 57.

(6)

FAO, The State of Food and Agriculture 2010-11:Women in Agriculture – Closing the gender gap for development, http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i2050e/i2050e.pdf.

(7)

World Economic Forum, Women’s Empowerment: Measuring the Global Gender Gap’, 2005, https://members.weforum.org/pdf/Global_Competitiveness_Reports/Reports/gender_gap.pdf.

(8)

UN, Ecosoc, ‘Women at a glance’, http://www.un.org/ecosocdev/geninfo/women/women96.htm.

(9)

UNICEF, Progress for Children, 2005, http://www.unicef.org/progressforchildren/2005n2/PFC05n2en.pdf.

(10)

Gender mainstreaming in the public transportation policy in Malmö: http://www.nikk.no/A+gender+equal+and+sustainable+public+transport+system.b7C_wljSYQ.ips; and the project to train ethnic minority women to be environmental ambassadors in Vollsmose: http://www.nikk.no/Women+are+everyday+climate+experts.b7C_wljQ1e.ips.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Awareness of the links between gender and climate change has only recently developed and gender issues have yet to be fully integrated into climate change policies.

The international context is by no means propitious: the uncertainties hanging over the post-Kyoto world and the danger that no legally binding international agreement may be reached are felt everywhere. In the face of the legitimate fear that existing and already inadequate climate change commitments may be reneged on, issues of climate justice and addressing vulnerability tend to be overlooked.

The spotlight is on the countries meeting in Durban in 2011 and again in Rio in 2012, with the outcome of the negotiations hinging on their ability to set aside their differences and their own egocentric concerns in order to reach an agreement which is both binding and far-reaching enough to be credible.

Our report supports this process. Since the effects of climate change will have a disproportionate impact on women, we wish to emphasise that climate change needs to be an absolute priority for the European Union, in terms of both foreign and domestic policy.

In these negotiations, as in most national policies and programmes such as the NAPAs, the inclusion of a gender perspective is a recent and fragile development. Although it is seen as legitimate in some sectors (particularly agriculture in developing countries and management of forest resources), it is still far from being seen as a cross-cutting issue or as a priority, when measured against the urgency of climate action and the dangers posed to human survival.

The rapporteur seeks not only to show that climate justice is a demand which cannot be ignored, but above all that it is by expanding our vision to take in such issues that more effective, less costly and, in the final analysis, more just solutions can be found. Since gender-based discrimination is found everywhere in our societies, we believe it essential that it be taken into consideration in climate policies in order to avoid worsening the situation and, above all, in order to tap into a whole reservoir of ideas, actions and leverage mechanisms with which to tackle the urgency of the fight against climate change.

Your rapporteur wishes to make three main points:

- The inclusion of gender issues provides an opportunity to make the fight against climate change stronger, fairer and more effective.

- in order to be effective, mainstreaming must be equally and simultaneously based on two principles: addressing the effects of inequality and tackling its causes, principally by increasing women's financial independence and their means of emancipation within their communities;

- We can only improve our understanding of the links between women and climate change through a willingness to do so and the collection of gender-disaggregated data. Better understanding will enable us to adapt our decision making, as has happened over the last 20 years with development policies.

Greater vulnerability

If the link between women and climate change appears is not immediately obvious, this is because women are not a homogenous group around the globe. The differences which exist in terms of standard of living, opportunities and education could give rise to the idea that gender is not a sufficiently universal factor to be decisive in combating climate change.

Nevertheless, throughout the world women suffer discrimination because they are women, and their needs, aspirations and opportunities are more limited and given less consideration than those of men. Gender-disaggregated statistics show that this holds true for all areas of life and in all societies.

- Women have less access to financial resources and property rights (women own less than 1 % of the world's resources and comprise 70 % of those living on less than one dollar a day);

- Women are systematically under-represented in political and economic decision making (17 % of the world's parliamentarians and 8 % of government ministers are women);

- Women carry out a very large part of the world's unpaid work, mainly involving caring for others (children, the elderly), and household management (two-thirds of the hours worked worldwide are worked by women, for only 10 % of the world's income);

- Women are the main victims of sexual violence, make up 80 % of the world's refugees and displaced people, and the excess mortality rate for women in situations arising from natural disasters is up to five times higher than that for men.

It can be added that women also have specific health needs, mainly linked to reproduction and associated factors: menstruation, health and hygiene conditions during pregnancy, childbirth, and management of reproductive rights in order to plan pregnancies.

These figures are a result of cultural, traditional and social limitations on equal rights and responsibilities for men and women. The discrimination which women have historically faced is the source of their vulnerability. Owing to their subordinate position in all areas of life - economic, political, social, etc. - women's are less able to respond and readapt in the face of major changes such as global warming and its side-effects.

Women as agents of change

Some progress has nevertheless been made towards including consideration of these vulnerabilities in international treaties. The 2005 Hyogo Framework on natural disasters specifically mentions the importance of gender-awareness at all levels. Agenda 21 and the 1992 Rio Declaration also include numerous measures to mitigate gender-related discrimination and actively encourage the inclusion of women in all aspects of climate policy.

Gender awareness goes beyond the issue of women's overall vulnerability. Awareness of the unequal situation of men and women involves two inextricably linked aspects: the need to focus specifically on women in order to alleviate their vulnerability and the need for measures designed to create a more equal relationship between men and women.

These two aspects - assistance and empowerment - should be jointly included in policies. For example, in the aftermath of a natural disaster it is important to make adequate provision for women's hygiene and safety, but it is equally important to include women in reconstruction training and work teams. This dual approach should be applied to all projects and programmes in order both to alleviate immediate suffering and encourage longer-term change.

It is only by linking these two aspects that mainstreaming can achieve its objective, which is to alleviate the effects the discrimination suffered by women and increase their independence and emancipation.

Women already act as agents of change on climate issues, both individually and collectively. With the inclusion of a gender dimension, the opportunities for action are multiplied, whether we are looking at immigrant women becoming 'environmental ambassadors' in Denmark or Indian women setting up traditional agricultural cooperatives.

Our report stresses that measures to protect women in already critical situations should complement each other and that it is important to use climate policies to change current mindsets by including groups which defend women's rights in negotiation processes and funding mechanisms, improving women's education and consulting them more, and encouraging projects which liberate and empower women within their own communities, both in developing countries and in the EU.

An area which is still largely unexplored in developing countries

Although greater awareness now exists, gender considerations are only partially included in European climate-related projects and programmes: development funding mechanisms and policies aimed at developing countries do increasingly make the link, but gender is noticeably absent from all intra-European climate policies.

Roadmap 2050, which sets out the Union's priorities for moving towards a green economy and reducing emissions and proposes a sectoral approach to the goals set, fails to take account of the different situations of men and women.

But links do exist between gender and climate, even within the EU and in policies concerning energy, transport and agriculture. For example, the key sectors of the future green economy are overwhelmingly male-dominated, which not only affects equal opportunities in education and training but also encourages enterprise cultures which do little to foster male-female equality.

Gender awareness extends beyond visible inequalities such as wage differences or the segregation of scientific and service sector jobs. The indirect causes of these inequalities – male enterprise culture, discrimination in the time spent on domestic work, etc. – are rooted in androcentrism. If gender is not incorporated into political discussions from the outset, the resulting projects and proposals are in danger of being biased by default, through use of an implicitly white, able-bodied, heterosexual male in permanent employment as their reference model.

We must broaden our outlook not just as a matter of justice but in order to make our actions more effective. Women form half the population and have significant potential for action and impact.

Your rapporteur has sought to highlight the opportunities presented by including women: at the moment we are failing to tap a vast reservoir of ideas, actions and leverage mechanisms by unconsciously excluding half the world's citizens from our climate policies.

Gender and climate change: the missing link?

Although the European Union has made efforts to include environmental considerations as a cross-cutting policy and the links between gender and development policy are well established, the link between gender and mitigation policy, especially within the EU, has been neither explored nor used. And yet Parliament's report on gender mainstreaming stresses the importance of promoting male-female equality in all EU policies.

It is to be hoped that it will not be necessary to justify the importance of gender mainstreaming field by field and that awareness will not be confined to matters of women's representation in politics and the economy. The implementation of a comprehensive policy to promote male-female equality calls for close study of the less explicit causes of inequality.

When policies are drawn up without a conscious effort to include gender mainstreaming, they run the risk of obstructing efforts to achieve equality between women and men.

Progress towards better understanding and increased awareness of gender issues is hampered by the lack of research, and of gender-disaggregated data with which to carry it out, in fields such as transport, energy and agricultural policy.

To avoid generating unreasonable administrative overheads, we propose that this type of data collection should only be systematically used when launching new projects or for the periodic evaluation of existing ones. Access to this new data will enable researchers to carry out analyses and draw up new proposals for the years to come.


OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (25.1.2012)

for the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

on women and climate change

(2011/2197(INI))

Rapporteur: Bairbre de Brún

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Highlights the fact that climate change and its negative impacts should be regarded as a development issue with gender implications that is relevant to all sectors (social, cultural, economic and political) from the local to the global level, and that concerted efforts are required by all stakeholders to ensure that climate change and disaster risk reduction measures are gender responsive, sensitive to indigenous people and respectful of human rights;

2.  Recalls that avoiding dangerous climate change and limiting the increase in average temperatures to 2° C, or 1.5° C if possible, compared to pre-industrial levels, is necessary and absolutely critical to avoid dramatic negative consequences for women and other vulnerable populations;

3.  Recalls that, in its 2007 4th Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed that the impact of climate change varies according to gender, age and class, with the poor most likely to suffer the most; underlines that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiation process must at all stages, from research and analysis to design and implementation and the creation of mitigation and adaptation strategies, take into account the principles of gender equality;

4.  Underlines that 70% of the world’s poorest are women, who carry out two-thirds of all work done but own less than 1% of all goods; they are denied equal access to and control over resources, technology, services, land rights, credit and insurance systems and decision-making powers and thus are disproportionately vulnerable to and affected by climate change and have fewer opportunities to adapt; underlines that 85% of people who die as a result of climate-induced natural disasters are women, that 75% of environmental refugees are women, and that women are also more likely to be the unseen victims of resource wars and violence resulting from climate change;

5.  Emphasises that the political, financial and educational empowerment of women, who make up approximately 50% of the world population but take relatively more responsibility in everyday decisions on consumption, child care and household activities, all of which affect the environment and climate, is crucial in view of sustainable development;

6.  Notes that in many communities around the world, women’s responsibilities in the family make them more vulnerable to environmental change, which is exacerbated by the impact of climate change; they are being affected in their multiple roles as food producers and providers, care givers and economic actors;

7.  Emphasises that there is strong evidence that the impact on health of climate-sensitive conditions such as malnutrition and the incidence of infectious diseases varies according to gender; notes with concern the high female mortality rate in disaster situations; considers that more gender-specific research into the impact on women’s health of climate change would help to achieve a more targeted response; calls on all governments to ensure better availability of, access to and support from healthcare services, especially for women in their capacity as care providers; to commit to a series of actions with which to address the health risks associated with climate change; and to provide a framework for gender-based health risk assessments and adaptation/mitigation measures in relation to climate change;

8.  Points out that women are globally more active in activities at civil society level, and thus the facilitation and support of networks of women’s organisations and civil society activities are important steps forward;

9.  Considers that achieving gender equality is key to human development and is a fundamental objective in the fight against poverty; demands that a gender-based approach be applied across the board in the drawing up of development, human rights and climate change policies; calls for steps to ensure that the UNFCCC acts in accordance with human rights frameworks and with national and international agreements on gender equality and equity, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW);

10. Notes that the impact of environmental change on migration and displacement will increase in the future and that, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 80% of the world’s refugees are women and children; reiterates the importance of identifying gender-sensitive strategies for responding to the environmental and humanitarian crises caused by climate change; considers therefore that urgent research is required on how to manage environmental migration in a gender-sensitive manner – this includes recognising and responding to gender roles and responsibilities in the area of natural resources and may include ensuring that scarce resources are available to communities in need and that water is provided for in-migrants;

11. Underlines that women also have valuable knowledge and skills and are effective agents of change in relation to the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, disaster risk reduction and resilience building; recognises the need for more country-specific and gender-disaggregated data to effectively assess and address the different effects that climate change has on each gender group;

12. Recognises that population growth has an impact on greenhouse gas emissions and highlights the need to adequately respond to any unmet contraceptive needs of women and men in all societies;

13. Stresses the important role of women in implementing mitigation measures in daily life, e.g. through energy saving practices, recycling measures and the use of eco-friendly and organic products;

14. Acknowledges therefore the significant contribution women can make to successful innovation through their educative capacity both in business and in household management;

15. In this regard, underlines the importance of strengthening the active participation of women in innovation for sustainable development as a means of tackling the serious challenges posed by climate change;

16. Calls on the EU and the Member States to assess to what extent climate-related policies take account of women’s needs and urges them to apply a gender-based perspective when formulating gender-sensitive sustainable development policy;

17. Urges governments worldwide to:

–   mainstream gender perspectives into their national policies, action plans and other measures relating to sustainable development, disaster risk and climate change by carrying out systematic gender analyses, establishing gender-sensitive indicators and benchmarks and developing practical tools;

–   develop climate change mitigation and adaptation programmes that use gender analysis to improve the welfare of women and girls – e.g. access to credit, capacity building and extension services, information dissemination, improved access to land and natural resources, sustainable energy and technology and access to reproductive health information and services;

–   reflect women’s priorities and needs in financing mechanisms and include the active participation of women in the development of funding criteria and allocation of resources for climate change initiatives, particularly at local level;

18. Calls on the EU and its Member States to develop a principle of ‘climate justice’; insists that the greatest injustice of our failure to effectively tackle climate change would be the detrimental effects on poor countries and populations, and on women in particular;

19. Urges governments worldwide to promote women’s empowerment through capacity-building before, during and after climate-related disasters, as well as their active involvement in disaster anticipation, early warning and prevention as part of their resilience building;

20. Stresses the need for a wider and more effective development of EU climate diplomacy in all international climate negotiations; considers that reinforcing the involvement and empowerment of women in this field by introducing the ‘soft power’ concept could have a positive influence;

21. Points out that women play a crucial role in water abstraction and management in third world countries, as they are often the ones collecting, using and distributing water, not just in the home but also in farming; calls on the Commission to furnish development aid for accessible programmes to sink wells based on renewable energy sources and simple, easy-to-maintain water treatment systems;

22. Points out that training for women in saving energy and water needs to be stepped up, as they are the primary managers of these resources in the home;

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

24.1.2012

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

47

7

4

Members present for the final vote

János Áder, Elena Oana Antonescu, Kriton Arsenis, Pilar Ayuso, Paolo Bartolozzi, Milan Cabrnoch, Martin Callanan, Nessa Childers, Yves Cochet, Esther de Lange, Anne Delvaux, Bas Eickhout, Edite Estrela, Jill Evans, Karl-Heinz Florenz, Elisabetta Gardini, Julie Girling, Matthias Groote, Françoise Grossetête, Satu Hassi, Jolanta Emilia Hibner, Dan Jørgensen, Karin Kadenbach, Christa Klaß, Holger Krahmer, Jo Leinen, Peter Liese, Zofija Mazej Kukovič, Linda McAvan, Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė, Miroslav Ouzký, Vladko Todorov Panayotov, Gilles Pargneaux, Andres Perello Rodriguez, Sirpa Pietikäinen, Mario Pirillo, Pavel Poc, Frédérique Ries, Oreste Rossi, Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, Daciana Octavia Sârbu, Horst Schnellhardt, Richard Seeber, Theodoros Skylakakis, Bogusław Sonik, Salvatore Tatarella, Anja Weisgerber, Åsa Westlund, Glenis Willmott, Sabine Wils, Marina Yannakoudakis

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Gaston Franco, Jutta Haug, Bill Newton Dunn, Michèle Rivasi, Eleni Theocharous, Andrea Zanoni

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Kārlis Šadurskis


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

28.2.2012

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

25

0

5

Members present for the final vote

Regina Bastos, Edit Bauer, Andrea Češková, Edite Estrela, Iratxe García Pérez, Sophia in ‘t Veld, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Constance Le Grip, Astrid Lulling, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, Siiri Oviir, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Joanna Senyszyn, Joanna Katarzyna Skrzydlewska, Britta Thomsen, Angelika Werthmann, Marina Yannakoudakis, Anna Záborská, Inês Cristina Zuber

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Kent Johansson, Christa Klaß, Kartika Tamara Liotard, Ana Miranda, Mariya Nedelcheva, Katarína Neveďalová, Antigoni Papadopoulou, Sirpa Pietikäinen

Last updated: 15 March 2012Legal notice