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Gender Equality and Climate Compatible Development – Drivers and challenges to people’s empowerment

Client: CDKN
Dates: 1/12/2014-31/03/2016
Lead office: PAC UK

The international community has long agreed on the importance of making gender issues a core consideration in international and domestic policy processes. However, in practice, the gender dimension of development, adaptation and mitigation projects has often been ignored or overlooked. When development and climate-related projects do give attention to gender, the discourse tends to focus on two predominant themes. Women are seen as more vulnerable to disaster risks and threats to livelihoods. At the same time they are often portrayed as having a more environmentally-friendly behaviour than men. Recognising the agency and capacity of women and girls to empower themselves is a crucial first step to overcome the labelling of women as ‘victims’, to build greater climate resilience and to overall promote gender equality.

Climate-related projects must be delivered in ways that improve the respective capacities of women and men to respond and adapt to the impacts of climate change in their specific contexts, and thus also to benefit from development progress.

This CDKN project has precisely this goal. Our research addresses major knowledge gaps in relation to the gender dimension of climate change mitigation, adaptation, and development. These gaps include:

  • Limited compelling evidence on the extent to which a gender-sensitive approach to climate compatible development (CCD) contributes to greater gender equality.
  • Limited evidence on the potential gains of a gender-sensitive approach, and the losses associated with gender-blind approaches.
  • Major knowledge gaps on the gender dimension of climate change mitigation, particularly in the areas of green growth, transport and urban infrastructure.
  • Limited nuanced analysis of gender and climate change that is translated into usable insights for policy and practice.

The CDKN project aims to strengthen the evidence base for gender-sensitive approaches across these fields by answering to the following questions:

  • What is the evidence of the relevance of gender-sensitive programming in CCD to promote and achieve people’s empowerment?
  • What socio-economic, political and cultural factors constrain or favour gender-sensitive approaches in the context of CCD?
  • Does a gender sensitive approach enable better CCD outcomes and if so, in what way?

This research demonstrates the extent to which gender sensitivity in climate change and development projects and programming can increase gender equality, paving the way for more effective climate compatible development and contributing to our goal of helping people to empower themselves.

literature review by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) analyses how and where gender mainstreaming is carried out in climate change and development projects and identify the major knowledge gaps in these fields.

The comparative research is carried out in cooperation between CDKN, IDS and Practical Action Consulting in urban areas in Peru, Kenya, and India. Final project outputs will include case study policy briefs and a global synthesis report. Research results will be published in early 2016 and presented at relevant conferences, as well as specifically organised workshops.

10 things to know: Gender equality and achieving climate goals

Synthesis report of CDKN study with PAC, IDS and ODI on gender and climate compatible development., This report draws out the headline messages of a research project by Practical Action Consulting (PAC) with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), commissioned by CDKN, to investigate the potential for climate compatible development to empower people, using case studies from Peru, India and Kenya. As most research into gender and climate change so far has been carried out in rural contexts, this study has put special emphasis on urban settings

Why gender approaches matter to Climate Compatible Development

Emerging Findings from the Drivers and Challenges of Gender Equality and Climate Compatible Development in Urban Locations, a CDKN funded research project, On-going research led by Practical Action Consulting is exploring the advantages and challenges of pursuing climate compatible development. We aim to generate usable insights for policy and practice to foster more inclusive development and climate interventions.

¿De qué manera los enfoques de género fortalecen el desarrollo compatible con el clima? Lecciones desde Perú

Este documento se basa en un proyecto de investigación llevado a cabo por Practical Action Consulting, con el apoyo del Instituto de Estudios para el Desarrollo (IDS) del Reino Unido y encargado y apoyado por la Alianza Clima y Desarrollo (CDKN), para proporcionar evidencias acerca de las ventajas y los desafíos de integrar la dimensión de género en estrategias de desarrollo compatible con el clima en entornos urbanos, en Perú, India y Kenia. Aunque existe considerable evidencia pertinente a las zonas rurales, se han hallado brechas de conocimiento significativas en relación con el desarrollo compatible con el clima y el género en zonas urbanas.

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El estudio de caso de Perú analizó las experiencias de las Redes de Gestión de Riesgos y Adaptación al Cambio Climático (conocidas localmente como GRIDES) en las ciudades de Cajamarca y Huaraz. Se encontró que el enfoque de género fue comprendido y promovido principalmente como la participación de las mujeres en los espacios de toma de decisiones. Como resultado, se discutió sobre el enfoque de género durante las reuniones de las GRIDES y en los procesos de planificación local. Las recomendaciones incluyen promover un enfoque de género más transformador para que se sigan escuchado las voces de las mujeres en los espacios de poder, mientras se hacen esfuerzos concertados para reducir las vulnerabilidades diferenciadas y las brechas de género, reorientando y fortaleciendo los procesos de desarrollo. Los resultados presentados en este informe se basan en entrevistas y discusiones de grupos focales que se llevaron a cabo con informantes claves, así como en una revisión de literatura relevante, documentos de políticas y planes.

How do gender approaches improve climate compatible development? Lessons from Peru

This brief is based on a research project carried out by Practical Action Consulting with support from the Institute of Development Studies, commissioned by and supported by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), to provide evidence on the advantages and challenges of integrating a gender dimension into climate compatible development strategies in urban settings.

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The Peruvian case study examined the experiences of the Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation Networks (known locally as GRIDES) in the Peruvian cities of Cajamarca and Huaraz and found that the gender approach was primarily understood and promoted as the participation of women in decision-making spaces. As a result, the gender approach was discussed during GRIDES meetings and in local development planning. Recommendations include promoting a more transformative gender approach so that women’s voices continue to be heard in spaces of power, while at the same time concerted efforts are made to reduce distinct vulnerabilities and gender gaps, thereby reorienting and strengthening development processes.

How do gender approaches contribute to climate compatible development? Lessons from Kenya

This brief is based on a research project carried out by Practical Action Consulting with support from the Institute of Development Studies, commissioned by and supported by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), to provide evidence on the advantages and challenges of integrating a gender dimension into climate compatible development strategies in urban settings.

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The Kenyan case study examined the experiences of Kisumu, Kenya, drawing lessons from the five-year project ‘People’s Plans into Practice (PPP): Building Productive and Liveable Settlements with Slum Dwellers in Kisumu and Kitale’. The findings presented in this brief are based on interviews and focus group discussions held with key informants, as well as a review of relevant literature, policy documents and plans. Compared to rural areas, residents in urban parts of Kisumu have more access to self-help groups, and have more livelihood options. Gender relations are dynamic and changing, however. Some of the changes are due to local factors, such as increased rural–urban migration and a movement away from traditional sectors like fisheries and agriculture towards more reliance on business and employment. Others are due to external factors such as changes in national and county level policies that give women, in principle, more formal rights and spaces for participation. However, there are still significant challenges in realising these gains in practice.

How do gender approaches improve climate compatible development? Lessons from India

This brief is based on a research study, presented in a longer technical report commissioned by CDKN and carried out by Practical Action Consulting (PAC), together with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in Latin America (Peru), Eastern Africa (Kenya) and South Asia (India). The full study is published under the same title on www.cdkn.org.

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This policy brief explores the advantages and challenges of integrating a gender dimension into climate compatible development strategies in urban settings, with a focus on the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) project in India. An initiative funded by The Rockefeller Foundation, the project was implemented in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh by the Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group (GEAG). Due to the complex social dimensions found in urban contexts in India, a gendersensitive approach to climate compatible development is fundamentally different in cities, compared to one in rural areas. Furthermore, urban residents demonstrate different vulnerabilities and capacities for facing the impacts of climate change, and these must be recognised in climate compatible development policy and programming.

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