GGCA at the 2016 Bonn Intersessional Meetings

"GGCA at the 2016 Bonn Intersessional Meetings"

By Iliana Paul


Day 1

This week is the Bonn Climate Change Conference Intersessional meeting, part of the UNFCCC process implementing the COP21 Paris Agreement.  During this 44th session, the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), and first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement take place from 16 to 26 May 2016, in Bonn, Germany.

GGCA members are attending in varying capacities, from policy and advocacy engagement to speaking and hosting side events.  I attended in the capacity of Program Officer for the GGCA Secretariat, and observed a variety of events and meetings.

This week on Wednesday May 18 and Thursday May 19  was a major event of interest to GGCA members, the “In-session workshop on gender-responsive climate policy with a focus on adaptation, capacity building and training for delegates on gender issues” (see workshop agenda, speakers and their presentations here).  The workshop  resulted from the Lima Work Programme on Gender. During tomorrow’s upcoming informal meetings on gender under the SBI, Parties will discuss if and how to build upon the Lima Work Programme to continue work on gender in the UNFCCC. In the closing remarks, one of the SBI chairs noted that implementation of the Paris Agreement is where the real work on gender and climate change needs to take place. The workshop recommendations can be found on the UNFCCC’s gender and climate change website.  Please note several GGCA members participated in the workshops as speakers and moderators.


Later in the afternoon, I had a chance to touch base with members of the GGCA steering committee to discuss the conference that we have been planning for the fall. The gender workshop proved a real source of inspiration for them and we will try to use the conference as an opportunity to highlight and respond to the workshop's recommendations.

In the evening, WEDO, IUCN and other partners hosted a networking event, "Capacity for Change," which honored Patience Dampty, a longtime Women Delegates Fund participant and woman leader in UNFCCC negotiations, and Christiana Figueres, the outgoing Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC. There was a brief presentation on the significant but gradual improvement in women's participation at the UNFCCC, the importance of having women in decision-making positions, as well as what kinds of capacity-building activities have been undertaken by GGCA members to push forward for gender and climate change.


Day 2

The Women and Gender Caucus held their daily meeting at 9am. We heard reports back on some of the meetings that took place on Thursday morning:

In-session gender workshop:

The second day of the gender workshop included breakout groups organized by type of actor, including State Parties, UNFCCC/UN Secretariat, Finance partners and Implementing Agencies/CSOs doing national- and subnational-level work. Each group came up with challenges and recommendations that have ben noted and uploaded by the secretariat. 2018 was also proposed as the moment for State Parties to share their progress on implementing INDCs that included gender considerations.

Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) Technology Transfer Insights:

Women and Gender Caucus colleagues also updated the group on technology meetings, including on the CTCN and informed us that despite the explicit gender mandate, many countries do not have the capacity to make their implementation gender-sensitive.

Meeting with Moroccan civil society:

We also heard about a meeting with Moroccan civil society groups. The Moroccan Coalition for Climate Justice announced that gender was one of its top priorities for COP22.

The APA (“Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement”) negotiations officially opened after days of negotiations on the agenda and modalities.

At noon there were the first informals under the SBI on gender and climate change, where State Parties voiced support for the continuation of the Lima Work Programme on Gender. Those Parties who spoke acknowledged the importance of gender and how they have benefited from the capacity-building activities that have taken place under the Lima Work Programme and undertaken by GGCA members, like the Women Delegates Fund.

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After lunch, there was an official launch of the “Global Climate Action Agenda,” where UNFCCC Executive Secretary and the presidents of COP21 and COP22 announced their Climate Champions, both of whom are prominent women leaders: Laurence Toubiana of France and Dr. Hakima El Haite of Morocco.

In the afternoon, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) hosted a side-event, “Commitment to Action: Supporting Effective Implementation of NDCs and Related SDGs.” The purpose of the event was to launch a partnership for climate action. The newly appointed champions of the Global Climate Action Agenda, Ambassador El Haite and Ambassador Toubiana gave keynote remarks on the importance of transitioning to active implementation of the Paris Agreement. The other panelists focused on what elements the partnership might need in order to be effective, including on what the new role of the UNFCCC Secretariat could be during this transition away from negotiation and towards implementation.

Day 3

During the morning Women and Gender Caucus meeting, participants reported back from Friday’s meetings. One particular highlight was that in the “Technical Expert Meeting on Mitigation: the Social and Economic Value of Carbon,” CTCN made special note of a gender-responsive program based in Africa that focuses on rural solar energy access.

One of the morning events was hosted by York University in Canada, on operationalizing transparency in the Paris Agreement regime in order to enhance equity. While the equity being discussed related to the concept of common but differentiate responsibilities (CBDR) and not gender, the items discussed, including how developing countries can build their capacity to do effecting monitoring, reporting and verification, are relevant for all stakeholders as we move into the implementation phase.
Also in the morning, Bridget Burns of WEDO spoke at a side-event hosted by Center for International Environmental Law(CIEL), “Human Rights in the Paris Agreement: Putting words into action,” where she discussed the importance of including gender equality and human rights in the UNFCCC regime.

The Least Developed Country Group (LDCs) convened a workshop in the afternoon called “Gender & Climate Change: Integrating Gender into the LDC Group Climate Change Agenda.”All four of GGCA’s founding members contributed to the session: UNDP moderated, UNEP conducted a brief exercise to illustrate gender differentiated outcomes, WEDO gave an overview presentation on gender and climate change, including the history of gender in the UNFCCC, and IUCN discussed specific examples of both gender-differentiated climate impacts and the capacity of women to contribute to climate solutions. After the presentations, participants engaged in interactive sessions to build their capacity on gender and climate change issues.

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If there was any doubt that gender was going to have a prominent place on the future climate agenda, the UNFCCC intersessional meeting happening in Bonn has fully dispelled it. Between the number of high-level, high-profile women leaders and the apparent eagerness of State Parties to take forward the work of the Lima Work Programme on Gender, gender and climate change only stands to become more important in the coming months and years. GGCA members continue to play critical roles in ensuring gender is a priority at the UNFCCC through leading workshops, training delegates, collaborating with UN agencies and civil society groups and advocating to decision-makers.