The proposed RETA will support human resource and technical capacity development for implementing agencies to integrate gender analysis in climate change policy frameworks and screening of emission reduction projects; for women's groups to gain co-benefits from appropriate emissions reductions technologies; and national/sub-national women's ministries to engage in and promote more equitable benefit distribution of climate change finance in dialogue with government agencies managing national climate change responses. The RETA will build on existing ADB investments and NGO interventions by piloting a model to develop low carbon projects with gender-equality benefits and demonstrate how climate financing can provide benefits to women for their contributions to GHG reductions in addition to productive industries The RETA will complement existing interventions by providing them with focused support to engage women's groups as agents of change and access climate finance.
Host projects and private sector companies, and national programs which will serve as anchors for the RETA. These include Light Engineering Solutions in Cambodia, SNV's Improved Cook Stove National Program in Lao PDR, and the National Biogas Program in Vietnam. This TA will go further by building stronger implementation partners at the local level in women's groups as well as supporting these groups to access climate financing. In Lao PDR, the TA is leveraging SNV's Improved Cookstoves Program by establishing stove production center, with Lao Disabled Women's Center. ADB will increase development impact and benefit shares for women to the existing value chain design on several levels. These include: (1) support policy level engagement through bringing stakeholders together and supporting MONRE to create a better enabling environment for projects with high community-level sustainable development impacts; (2) inform principles and rules of revenue sharing from carbon projects; (3) mobilize women's participation along the ICS value chain; and (4) incorporation of successful elements in replication into other provinces as the national program is scaled up. Support provided will develop baselines and monitoring schemes which show concrete emissions reductions, making projects eligible for climate finance. The climate mitigation components will complement environmental improvements planned by the host projects and increase their financial sustainability. Design of pilot projects to be implemented by women's group will increase social inclusion and gender benefits.
The governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam have prioritized poverty reduction and environmental management in their medium term strategic plans. In parallel, ADB has prioritized addressing social inclusion and climate change in operations. The RETA directly responds to three of the five strategic thrusts outlined in the GMS Strategic Framework; Develop human resources and skill competencies; Protect the environment and promote sustainable use of natural resources; and Enhance private sector participation and improve competitiveness. The strategic framework recognizes the need to take action on climate change mitigation through reducing carbon emissions and rewarding carbon sinks. The RCOBP highlights increased focus envisaged on climate change and the environment. The Updated Regional COBP Results Framework 2011-2013 identifies increased access to renewable energy and increased energy efficiency; and sustainable development and increased resilience to climate change as key components of its regional objectives.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Climate Change Impacts are not Gender Neutral
Rising incidence of floods, landslides, drought, urban pollution, and depleting natural resources linked to climate change impacts has been observed in Southeast Asia. Climate change impacts are not gender neutral: Addressing poverty and climate change concerns cannot be grasped without an understanding of gender differentiated rights, roles, and responsibilities of women and men. In the face of seasonal and/or catastrophic climate change events, women are less equipped to respond and are, due to gender roles; often face the brunt of these events. Women and girls have disproportionately low access to employment and income generating opportunities (limited education and skills base, lack of access to capital and markets); and socioeconomic status (lacking legal protection and ownership rights). In addition, the provision of services (clean water, waste management, household energy) and exposure to environmental hazards (reproductive work position women closer to unsafe environments) are linked to gender roles. Disproportionate impacts on poor and vulnerable groups, in particular women, disrupt livelihoods, produce unsafe environments and limit access to clean water and essential services.
Women are Agents of Change in Promoting Climate Change Responses
Women are not simply hapless victims of climate change, but are powerful agents of change who are stewards and managers of water, fuel, and waste resources. Evidence, such as in Nepal and India, demonstrates that linkages empowering women as resource managers and entrepreneurs present a powerful strategy for addressing both local and global environment concerns. Despite this, there is an institutional gender blindness that renders women's participation and contributions invisible and for resource management to be incorrectly treated as gender neutral. National energy, transport and urban development policies and organizations overlook women's specific needs and contributions, in part because the management of energy, transport and urban infrastructure has been cast as the work of men (e.g. engineers, surveyors and scientists).
Climate changefinancing mechanisms neglect sustainable development concerns
As a result of the Copenhagen Accord, developed countries pledged to mobilize $30 billion per year in additional climate change financing until 2020 and $100 billion per year thereafter. Dedicated financing windows and partnerships have already been established. Despite increasing attention on low-carbon and climate resilient growth paths, social dimensions of climate change are little understood. Climate change financing mechanisms have been criticized for prioritizing greenhouse (GHG) emissions reductions over sustainable development concerns. Many financial instruments responding to the climate change challenge are new and just beginning to consider social safeguards to govern their distribution.
While vulnerable, resource dependent groups such as indigenous peoples are being taken into account in emerging policy discussions, gender concerns are sorely missing. A new approach is needed, to weave gender concerns in national screening processes such that gender concerns are incorporated in project design guidelines; impacts are monitored or verified; and to enable wider stakeholder representation in national climate change planning forums. Innovative approaches are needed to ensure climate change financing mechanisms value sustainable development benefits and facilitate projects with high development impact and gender co-benefits.
Capacity Development Needs
Capacity development of government authorities at the provincial and local levels is needed to capture, regulate and distribute the influx of climate change finance in an efficient and gender equitable manner. National women's ministries, mandated to promote women's empowerment and gender mainstreaming, are equally without expertise to engage in investments in technical sectors related to climate change. While local communities and organizations are best positioned to identify projects that meet local needs and priorities, knowledge of the technical and financial requirements limit their access to climate change finance opportunities.
Low-carbon technologies and access to climate change financing opportunities present co-benefits for women
The considerable funding mobilized under the existing climate change finance mechanisms provides opportunities for projects with significant implications on local and women's livelihoods. Climate finance projects can reduce the vulnerability of women to climate change by providing more secure livelihoods and access to modern technology while also promoting MDG goals for environmental sustainability and gender equality (MDG 3 and 7). Women could spend less time obtaining fuel wood, have access to cleaner energy sources, clean water, provide safe local environmental conditions and improve their own livelihoods. For urban areas, landfill methane recovery and utilization as energy, comprehensive waste management, and alternative waste management (recycling, composting and others) have been identified as priority mitigation options that also address these issues.
Linking Climate Change Finance Opportunities and gendered co-benefits: Need for Pilot Demonstration
There are many established low-carbon technologies but not adequate financing to spread them. Expected high transaction costs have hindered both small-scale project development and access to climate finance. Although with often significant social development impact; the distributive costs associated with high client spread, human resource-intensive projects may not be immediately attractive to international finance institutions with respect to overall investment amount. A number of challenges can also inhibit small-scale projects from accessing climate finance, including high up-front project development costs. However, in response to these development challenges, climate financing is attractive as it offers a long-term source of revenue to sustain projects. Further, given women's roles and responsibilities in fuel/energy, and waste management, low carbon technologies provide an existing platform to improve global environment and empower women from the co-benefits that reduce their time, reduce health and sanitation risks, and increase their access to clean energy sources. Revenue from market-based climate mechanisms, such as the carbon markets, presents an important opportunity to empower women's groups to implement these technologies as an entrepreneurial initiative, earning benefits from the carbon revenue and developing skills to handle clean technologies and better waste management approaches.