Despite women being disproportionately affected by climate change, they play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Climate change frequently affects women and men differently (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007). The primary reason for these differences is the varying levels of access to resources knowledge, skills, and finance that shape how women and men adapt to climate impacts.
Women’s risks and vulnerabilities are visible in the following areas: in restricted land rights, lack of access to financial resources, training, and technology, and limited access to political decision-making spheres often prevent them from upholding their role in tackling climate change, environmental risks/disaster.
While gender equality yields greater returns to economic growth and broader sustainable development, gender considerations are often ignored in ongoing climate change programs and activities.
Unlocking women’s potential to take charge through knowledge and capability presents an opportunity to craft effective climate change solutions for the benefit of all.
Institutional frameworks and climate change action in Uganda:
Uganda in 2021 developed and enacted the National Climate Change act 2021 whose purpose is to give for of law in Uganda to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement; to provide for climate change response; to provide for participation in climate change mechanism and to provide an institutional and coordination and implementing mechanism for climate change actions and to foster climate change financing.
The country has instituted the Climate Change Department, under the Ministry of Water and Environment; the National Environment Management Authority and the parliamentary Committee on Environment as institutions mandated to monitor and enforce climate action in Uganda. The government has also recognized and programmed climate change in the third National Development Plan (NDPIII).
Women and Green Growth model.
Green growth model is a means to promote and maximize opportunities for sustainable economic development through building resilience and managing resources efficiently. This growth needs to happen along a pathway that enhances the environmental sustainability of consumption and production, climate resilience, equality, and social inclusion especially looking at women and youth involvement.
The Green Growth model is a practicable model for directly and simultaneously enhancing the delivery of climate-resilience, deliver sustainable development, and climate-compatible growth that ensures sustainable consumption and production patterns, and further mitigation efforts.
Investing in green growth requires both policy interventions and adequate financing, especially that green growth investments require significant upfront financing to harness the innovative environmental solutions and clean technologies. This includes building resilient and low-carbon economies, smart and sustainable cities, greening industrialization, and building climate-resilient infrastructure.
Recognizing all the impacts of climate change on women and cognizant that if no immediate action is taken, the effects are likely the proliferate even further.
Recognize that the National Climate Change act 2021 is the national framework for coordination of national climate actions and calls for actions on gender mainstreaming in climate change.
Now, the women in climate change make a call to action with key entry points for implementation of climate actions in Uganda, recognizing women in climate change.
Call to Action:
The women in climate change hereby call upon all the climate change stakeholders in Uganda to:
- Prioritize women’s issues in climate financing through increased planning and budgeting. The call is extended to global facilities such as the Green Climate Fund, the Global Environment Facility, the Adaptation Fund, and the NAMA facility.
- Embrace and programme for women responsive interventions in the programmes and implementation action plans of the National Development Plan. Women in climate change further, call for their active participation in the development of District Climate Change Action Plans and to ensure that these are gender responsive.
- Allow women’s participation in the development and implementation of the framework strategy on climate change in Uganda. Women’s views, expectations and ambitions ought to be reflected in the strategy if it must be responsive to their climate realities such as food security, income security, security of livelihoods, land tenure and unpaid work. The strategy must further direct investments towards actions that mitigate, reduce, and help create adaptation to the damage occasioned by climate disasters on women to ensure such is minimized as is on the ecosystems and communities.
- Enhance the resilience of women against climate change effects through investments in reducing vulnerability, protecting, and conserving supportive ecosystems upon which women’s livelihoods depend. Increasing financing to climate change adaption actions such as climate resilient agriculture, reducing flood risks in rural and urban areas, putting in place climate resilient buildings and urban transport systems which reduce the carbon emissions from energy, transport, and waste.
- Mobilize women to utilize their unique knowledge of community dynamics and skills to add value to the climate effort, required to enhance the efficiency and sustainable response efforts. Providing women with information will provide economic and social co-benefits that contribute to climate change and long-term viability. Likewise, involvement of women should be from the onset of project design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.
- Extend support to women’s investments and businesses which help to stabilize livelihoods and minimize the reliance on the natural environment such as waste to energy enterprises to off set the high energy costs; investments in solar powered irrigation systems and securing land rights which enable women to conserve the natural environment and engage in sustainable and climate smart agriculture. There should also be increased attention to women’s education and training requirements to ensure women transition to non-climate reliant enterprises which bear minimal impact on the environment.
- Make deliberate effort to map out, zone and strictly conserve the natural assets which act as carbon sinks and reservoirs for greenhouse gasses as a way of minimizing climate change impact on women.
- Increase of women negotiators in climate change negotiations and talks and participation in climate change decision making processes and platforms such as the Conference of Parties (COP). A multi-actor participatory and decision-making process to mainstream gender can help expand the range of actions and deepen the degree of integration needed for inclusive actions in climate change action
- Hold an annual Women in Climate Change (WICC) conference to recognize the role of women in climate change. The conference is an opportunity to deliberately push this agenda forward, but building of the capacities of women nationally, regionally, and globally in climate leadership.
- Overall, as key stakeholders, we must continuously ensure that gender is recognized by bringing gender stakeholders into different stages of the decision-making process. The processes must be made inclusive, aiming not only gender co-benefits but also women as agents of change who can expand and balance the distribution of multiple benefits.
Hereby signed by: Women in Climate Change
This day: 16/06/2022 at: Makerere University, Kampala