|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 change financing 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 womenSs 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.