by Danica Marie Supnet

Editor’s Note: Danica Supnet is the senior analyst of ICSC’s Climate Governance Team and a fellow of the Women and Earth Initiative (WORTH) of the Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW).

Danica delivered this presentation during the “Climate Change and Health: A Gender Lens” dialogue organized by the Climate Change Commission, with ICSC and WORTH, in celebration of the 13th Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week with the theme “Adapting for a Sustainable Future.”

Good morning! I am Danica Marie Supnet from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities and I will be presenting eight points on the nexus of gender, health, and climate change in advancing advocacy into governance.

I would like to start with a statement from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which highlights people-centered impacts of climate change in vulnerable populations—the individual, family, or a community, men, women, and the youth. There are important aspects related to gender and health that need to be unraveled and advanced into governance, based on issues, opportunities, and recommendations.

As stated by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, climate change is not a gender-neutral phenomenon and that there are certain gender-specific impacts.

Both direct and indirect impacts cause gender disparities on health, particularly on how sexual reproductive health and rights are seen in climate-induced health issues, how human security cuts across issues related to socio-economic population, and of course, how gendered roles and responsibilities add to the “extra burden” that men, women, and the youth need to fulfill despite the adverse impacts of climate change.

These are the long-standing issues that we need to constantly consider in mainstreaming gender, health, and climate strategies.

But with these issues come many opportunities in advancing advocacy into governance. For one, conducting a climate impact chain analysis can provide a basis for developing better and contextualized climate adaptation strategies and plans. Integrating important elements of gender and health analysis into climate analysis would give far greater information of the realities on the ground. A first step in breaking the silos.

Also, engaging in multi-stakeholder governance takes into account perspectives of public policy, civil society movement, and most importantly, the stories of communities that will further validate what the science presents. In advancing advocacy into governance, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that local governments are the front liners in addressing climate, health, and gender issues and taking advantage of the opportunities: better development planning with adaptation as the core strategy and mitigation, risk management, gender-response, and resource mobilization as co-benefits.

Of course, always remember that knowledge is power. Impacts do not stop at just one analysis, and one solution. Continuous data-gathering and analysis of information will be very important in order to fully address impacts and enhance the government mandates, becoming more sustainable and responsive to the changing needs of the community over a longer term.

Climate action doesn’t stop with an accomplished plan. Resource mobilization and the opportunities of fund blending from government and private sector funds is crucial to ensure that local plans receive the resources they require and are actually implemented, effectively.

When we look at it, gender and health related initiatives are actually key elements of climate action. While we are addressing climate impacts, we need to ensure the welfare of people and communities through greater gender and health action.  It’s a matter of finding the nexus.