Women’s leadership is crucial for developing and implementing national-level policies and plans designed to build resilience to the impacts of climate change. A COP27 event hosted by the NAP Global Network at the 4th Capacity Building Hub fostered discussion on how capacities and networks can be enhanced to enable women’s leadership in adaptation decision-making, including in National Adaptation Plan (NAP) processes.
Angie Dazé, NAP Global Network’s Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Lead, introduced the event by underscoring that women remain underrepresented in climate-related decision making at all levels and noted that this gap needs to be overcome for adaptation to climate change to be gender-responsive.
For Unamay Gordon, regional director of the non-profit Caribbean Women in Leadership and an independent climate change expert, climate change capacity-building efforts should be particularly targeted to young women, including by providing them with opportunities such as participating in UNFCCC meetings. She also spoke of the need for equal representation in decision-making bodies and for a change in behaviours to ensure that women can flourish in these spaces.
As CEO of the non-profit social enterprise Lensational, Lydia Wanjiku Kibandi, described an ongoing partnership with the NAP Global Network that empowers underrepresented women from climate-vulnerable countries through visual storytelling. Through photos and stories depicting their realities impacted by climate change, women can engage in dialogues with decision-makers. A key message emerging from the stories is that it is impossible to separate efforts to achieve gender equality from efforts in climate action.
Stella Okoh, an administrative officer in the Climate Change Department of Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency, spoke about her experience in exchanging knowledge at peer learning events on gender-responsive NAP processes and how this has influenced Ghana’s approach to its NAP process, including through efforts to strengthen women’s participation in adaptation decision-making at the district level. She also noted how important it is to engage gender actors at the local level early in the NAP process in order to create the foundation for gender-responsive implementation.
Closing the event, Angie Dazé highlighted that women’s leadership is an essential ingredient to ensure that adaptation action is gender-responsive and that there are many ways to foster this leadership, including through institutional mechanisms, mentoring, informal networks of support, peer-to-peer learning, and creative methods to enable dialogues. She also emphasized the need to address social and cultural norms that play out in societies, institutions, and communities if we are to make progress on gender equality.