This month marked International Women’s Day – a day the world commemorates the political, social, and economic achievement of women. In this 11th Exchange, it would be timely for us to redirect our attention to gender equality and women’s empowerment, particularly as it relates to our work on climate change adaptation.
Achieving gender equality and taking climate action are two goals under the UN-led 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Under these goals are also numerous targets that, while comprehensive, need greater cohesion for effective implementation. At USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific, we strive to integrate gender concerns into the climate change adaptation projects we work on so as to bring tangible benefits directly to women.
Leading this effort is Brianna Ficcadenti, the project’s Senior Technical Specialist for Climate Change Adaptation and Gender. This is a good opportunity for us to hear from Brianna and learn from her experience. Brianna, over to you.
Thank you very much.
Dr. Peter N. King
Adaptation Project Preparation and Finance
USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific
Many thanks, Peter.
Hello, everyone – it’s great to have this opportunity to share the successes and challenges we have faced and to learn from your experience on how best to integrate gender into climate change adaptation.
As Peter mentioned, I work with USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific’s partners to incorporate gender and social inclusion in the design of adaptation projects. One of the key ways we do this is by developing targeted, budgeted activities that respond to the needs of often-excluded groups, such as women, indigenous people, youth and others, all the while contributing to the overall objective of adaptation. This usually translates to ensuring that funds and resources are channeled towards tangible support for women and girls, or other marginalized groups.
The economic case for gender equality is now overwhelming. As the World Economic Forum’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Klaus Schwab, noted in his preface to the latest Global Gender Gap Report 2015, “people and their talents are among the core drivers of sustainable, long-term economic growth. If half of these talents are underdeveloped or underutilized, growth and sustainability will be compromised.”
The same can be said of adaptation: people drive the process, so if half the people (i.e. women) are underutilized, our goals will no doubt be compromised.
Last March, Peter held a similar discussion on the topic of mainstreaming gender into climate change adaptation. In that discussion we learned how this community has leveraged the momentum of adaptation to help women. This year I’d like to focus on the flip side of that coin:
How, in your experience, do women help adaptation?
I am interested to learn how and what others in the field – whether in government, development agency, or NGO – are doing to better achieve gender equality and thus develop more effective climate change adaptation programs, projects, and activities. Please consider the following specific questions:
We found that the best way to advocate for incorporating gender into adaptation projects is to make the connection that gender inclusion produces stronger, more sustainable adaptation outcomes. Have you used a similar reasoning in your work? Is it successful? What other arguments have you used? And for those who don’t work on gender issues, what reasons for gender inclusion would you find most persuasive?
On this year’s International Women’s Day 2016, there was a strong call to action for gender parity – particularly in leadership positions. At USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific, we have done some work to build the capacity of female adaptation champions within national government institutions, like this woman from Vietnam. How else can we empower women to lead and drive adaptation planning and management at the national level? How do/would these activities impact adaptation efforts more generally?
In the projects we design, we often include support for woman – such as providing childcare – to ease the infamous double burden on women of active participation in public life and responsibilities for maintaining the household. What other mechanisms have you used (or know of) to overcome the double burden of balancing public work and domestic life? And what about to overcome the cultural barriers that can inhibit women from participating in the first place?
In addition to women, another group that is often excluded from decision making in relation to climate change adaptation is young people. This group, however, is likely to suffer most from future climate change if appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures are not put in place today. In your experience, how have youth been brought into adaptation planning and implementation? Could more be done to involve them in a meaningful way? Would better inclusion of youth improve adaptation outcomes?
I very much look forward to hearing your views on any of these questions. Learning from your experience will greatly inform this community of practice and, importantly, help us all do our adaptation work a little better. Thank you once again for the opportunity.
Senior Technical Specialist
Climate Change Adaptation and Gender
USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific
Consultant on Climate Change and Water
With regard to your 4th question: may I draw your attention to the recent UNICEF publication: "Unless we act now" (http://www.unicef.org/
Principal Climate Change Specialist, Asian Development Bank, Manila, Philippines
Thanks for initiating the exchange series on gender integration in adaptation.
As part of the technical assistance funded by the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), Asian Development Bank (ADB) is implementing a component entitled "Mainstreaming Gender Considerations in Adaptation Investments" in partnership with the Cambodian Ministry of Women's Affairs. We have not yet accumulated any results, as the component will be implemented from June 2016 to June 2019.
In this study, we wish to build an economic case for gender mainstreaming in adaptation investments. However, we have not yet found any good studies on economics of gender mainstreaming in adaptation. If you are aware of any studies on methodologies, or have shown clear cost-benefit ratios in projects with and without gender mainstreaming, kindly share them with us.
Thanks for your attention.
Ancha Srinivasan, Ph.D. (Cantab.), FCPS, FCCS
Principal Climate Change Specialist
Southeast Asia Dept.
Asian Development Bank
South East Asia Regional Focal Point, GEF-NGO Network, C/O Save the Earth Cambodia
Dear Dr. Peter N. King,
Thanks for bridging us through your online consultations. You made an example of excellence in the risk reduction process.
In ref. to the message posted by Dr. Ancha Srinivasan of Asian Development Bank, I would like to share a case study from Cambodia on mainstreaming gender and climate change into development initiatives for enhancing community resilience.
Dear Dr. Ancha Srinivasan,
Kindly see below a case from Cambodia. It may not be the exact case that you have been looking for but it may give an idea from grassroot level, a highly drought affected community in Cambodia, how streamlining of gender mainstreaming better help in sustainable adaptation approaches and vale to enhance community resilience.
Save the Earth Cambodia implemented a Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction Project in 2007-08 with support from Oxfam and later on mainstreaming gender and climate change issues for sustainable livelihoods development supported by GEF SGP UNDP Cambodia in 2008-09. I am briefly sharing some features of the case:
Demonstrate how a vulnerable community adapts with drought (deal with drought risks) and manage sustainable climate solutions for building resilience. What the project streamlined to mainstream gender and climate change:
- Linked adaptation and disaster risk reduction
- Place women and men with defined roles & responsibilities (NO OVER LAPPING) in decision-making at household and community levels, empower them to do community risk assessment, develop risk reduction action plan, collaborate with local authority to cope action plan into local development plan.
- Collaborated with department of agriculture, developed annual climate adapted annual farming calendar, capacity building on self-managed M&E and reporting
- Introduced Micro Insurance Facility - MIF (a gender balanced committee supported by MIF policy and strategy), empower them to facilitate all forms of risk assessment including climate and disaster risks assessment, action plan development, implementation, self managed Monitoring and Reporting (M&R); improved capacity on how to save, borrow, invest and refund the MIF loan; (we found at community levels, livelihood risks come first and it is the highest priority for the poor at community level). So MIF was designed to provide adequate technical assistance to come up with risk reduction action plan and necessary financial support to work on it accordingly. The technical assistance included how an individual (how a disable, elderly people, orphan, divorced etc. all) how a family, how a group of people (mainly youth group) can contribute in climate change supporting through their livelihoods etc.
- Linked DRR & CCA;
- Gender mainstreamed in MIF policy, decision-making at household and MIF community, planning, project development, implementation and M&R;
- MIF serves as the community-based revolving fund owned, managed and led by community, 0% bad-debt since 2008 to present (Dec 2015) capital is 255%;
- MIF member increased to 102 from 60 highly-vulnerable Women-Headed-Households, 98%members can have 3 meals/day, migration & domestic violence reduced 48% and 55%, family-income increased $3-$5 for 13%, $6-10 for 75%, $11+ for 12% households from $2-$2.50.
- Women, youth and children actively take part in family and community consultations and decision-making at home and community levels;
- MIF serves and power-house for sustainable livelihood development
The MIF also introduced water-filter and cook-stove for saving firewood 11-15kg/household/day for 102 households; livestock, construction materials, handicrafts; stopped bushes-burning, extended home-gardening balances ecosystem etc.
Resilience, Adaptability, and Self-Sufficiency:
Home gardening, livestock raising, small business, youth empowerment and employment, rice-stocking etc. Livelihood activities reduced risks caused by drought and other risks caused by climatic issues and made the members self-sufficiency.
Empowerment of Women and Social Inclusion:
Micro Insurance Facility (MIF) serves as the vehicle empowering children, women, people with disability, elderly along with civil society and local authority to ‘one-table’ working for gender and climate change mainstreamed in policy formulation, decision-making, planning, project development, implementation and M&E.
MIF empowered local people to manage the community-based revolving fund owned by themselves, made an example of success with 0% bad-debt since 2008.
Highly vulnerable people gained means to have three meals a day, maintain environmentally friendly lives and livelihoods, established social coherence, happier family lives as reduced domestic violence and social crimes. Increased greening activities. Local authority respect local people as they are united with ‘one-voice’ for any problem solving. True rights for all established.
The initiative has been contributing to sustainable natural resource management and environmental conservation, the conservation efforts are linked to improved community livelihoods and well-being at household and community levels Following are some examples:
1. MIF created community awareness on natural resources protection, benefits, risks in case it is lost and how to enhance by planting trees, land use, ecosystem management etc.;
2. Conducted a research in collaboration with Department of Agriculture to ensure the community initiatives are doable, aligned with government's national strategic direction, and adapted to the changing climatic patterns or situation. The research also addressed how to benefits of natural resources and challenges if reduces etc. The research contributed a "Climate-Adapted-Farming-Calen
Social Inclusion and Governance:
1. The initiative focused on the most vulnerable group in the community like women headed households, divorced, trafficked, children, people with disability etc. The project mechanisms empowered them to own and implement the project. The key governance of the initiative was to let the target beneficiaries undertake their risk assessment & communication, develop risk reduction action plan with Commune Council to cope it into Commune Investment and Development Plan and implement borrowing money from Micro Insurance Facility (MIF). The policy, guidelines for MIF has been developed in consultation with and approved by them so they know when, what and how to do the things. In a word, the beneficiaries launched the project in their hands, implemented, follow-up, have been managing its post-project periods. That resulted them to be the key actors in building their own community resilience.
2. The following specific elements of the initiative promoted community empowerment, community co-ownership, and participatory decision-making:
- Developed capacity to recognize the causes of risks, needs of risk reduction and benefits of reduced risks;
- Gender considered beneficiaries and MIF with defined roles, no overlaps
- Needs based training and follow up
- Demonstrated the ways to have sustainable livelihoods that attracted them to be actively taking ownership.
The initiative advocated climate justice policy, adapted and brought into application. The benefits from those mechanisms impacted to local authority bring into their local practices and they have been doing the same since 2009 once they are confirmed of the realistic approaches. The neighboring communities have been waiting to join and the local authority officially requested to scale-up but due to limited resources no progress could make. It was shared to many national, regional and international forums: GEF CSO consultative meeting held at Washington DC and GEF Council Meeting held on 1-3 June/2015; presented in the 3rd World Conference for DRR held at Sendai, Japan March 2015 documented Global Network for Civil Society Organization for Disaster Reduction (GNDR); IFRC and UNDP organized Law and DRR conference in Feb/2014, Malaysia; International Humanitarian Conference Nov/201;, UNISDR-GP-DRR Conference-May 2013 at Geneva (http://globalnetwork-dr.org/
Innovative partnerships with governments:
Save the Earth Cambodia, the implementing agency, empowered the community members to do risks assessment, developing risk reduction actions, collaborate with local authority. As a result, community led the processes where local authority advised to make process happen.
As the resilience cannot be made visible during the project life, so the community set some indicators as they are aware M&R processes. Those indicators demonstrate how the community resilience look like.
If it can help in any way, we would be happy to cooperate with any institution.
South East Asia Regional Focal Point
C/O, Save the Earth Cambodia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Director Adaptation and Projects, Office of Climate Change and Development, Papua New Guinea
Thank you for the request. We would also like information on mainstreaming and the economics of gender if it can be shared.
Papua New Guinea also has this Building Resilience to Climate Change Program and gender consideration is an important part of the BRCC.
Director Adaptation and Projects
Office of Climate Change and Development
Papua New Guinea
Md. Iskandar Hosan
Assistant Director (Planning), Bangladesh Climate Change Trust, Ministry of Environment & Forests, Bangladesh
Dear Dr. Peter,
Thank you all once again for taking such initiatives to discuss on “How Gender Integration Leads to Better Climate Change Adaptation” where we can not only share our individual views but also can know the other’s valuable experiences & views.
I strongly believe that gender integration to climate change related projects leads to better climate change adaptation. You know that Bangladesh has created a unique fund as Bangladesh Climate Change Trust (BCCT) to combat the adverse impacts of climate change & to make the vulnerable people more resilient. For doing so, we approve many projects related to climate change. As we know that the adverse impacts of climate change are multiple. As a result many ministries like agriculture ministry, health ministry, water ministry & ministry of women & children affairs etc are connected to combat the effects of climate change. So we made a climate change focal point in every ministry to incorporate gender into climate change related & development projects. We completed a workshop on mainstreaming gender in climate change having all climate change focal points of different ministries with the joint collaboration of UN Women. The main objective of this workshop is to sensitize the focal points in mainstreaming gender in climate change initiatives.
We made coastal embankment in coastal areas of Bangladesh. We considered gender equity in the projects activities such as prepare a ladder so that women can use the water of the river & made a 2-4 fit wall for keeping children safe falling into the river. What percentage of workers be women worker is defined in project proposal. It ensures women’s empowerment & gender equity through generating income. I think we can integrate gender equity (not gender equality) in every climate change related projects & development works too and it definitely leads to better climate change adaptation.