UNFCCC negotiations doomed to failure without gender

28 September 2009 | News story

Millions of lives will be lost if governments fail to recognize the importance of gender in the text currently under negotiation at the UNFCCC climate change talks.

“The women of the world are asking to be part of the solution and not the victims of deficient decisions,” said Lorena Aguilar, Global Senior Gender Advisor for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at the start of the UNFCCC negotiations currently taking place in Bangkok, Thailand, ahead of the UNFCCC climate negotiations to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 7 – 18 December 2009.

“We can no longer ignore gender as a crucial element in the UNFCCC negotiating process. By ignoring the importance of gender in the climate change debate, we will be responsible for the death and impoverishment of millions of people – many who already suffer extreme poverty, hardship and indignation.”

Aguilar made the remarks at the start of the UNFCCC negotiations currently being held in Bangkok, Thailand. Aguilar is the main author of a groundbreaking training manual linking climate change and gender. The Training Manual on Gender and Climate Change released on behalf of the Global Gender Climate Alliance (GGCA), draws on the scientific data from alliance partners of the alliance and more than 30 years of project level work done in the field in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

Established in 2007, the Global Gender and Climate Alliance is fast becoming the most authoritative voice on gender and climate issues globally. The alliance consists of 12 United Nations agencies and institutions and 23 civil society and international organizations.

Whilst the link between gender and climate change is not readily recognized, the work done by the GGCA clearly illustrates that incorporating a gender perspective in all climate change policies and initiatives is critical to solving the climate crisis.

Including gender in the negotiating text ahead of the Copenhagen climate change negotiations set to take place in December 2009, is not only a question of social justice and human rights. It is critical in ensuring equitable and sustainable human development by the most effective and efficient means. Currently, gender equality is more pervasive than any other forms of inequality. It is part and parcel of the process of causing and deepening poverty in society and must therefore constitute part and parcel of measures to address climate change challenges.

According to the best available data, gender gaps/inequalities exist which leaves women particularly vulnerable in relation to their male counterparts.

  • Natural disasters on average kill four women against every man.
  • Seventy percent of the world’s 1.3 billion people living in extreme poverty are women and girls.
  • Only one percent of the world’s property is owned by women.
  • Seventy-five percent of the world’s illiterate adults are women.

Further information may be obtained from Lorena AGUILAR, Global Senior Global Gender Advisor, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on +615 (0) 521 2523.


This image shows the courtship behavior of Indian Bull frogs (Holobatrachus tigerinus). During the monsoon, the breeding males become bright yellow in color, while females remain dull. The prominent blue vocal sacs of male produce strong nasal mating call.