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There is an urgent need to reframe global climate talks to factor gender equality and ensure women are fully represented in the implementation of activities that promote a greener and sustainable future.
Participants at the Thursday IEWM roundtable agreed that political goodwill is critical to speed up implementation of policy and legislative instruments that promote gender equality in climate change negotiations. Several participants regretted that climate change negotiations have been a province of highly skilled males while women remained passive bystanders yet this challenge affect them most. The roundtable forum stressed that a paradigm shift in climate change negotiations at national and global level is needed, to entrench gender concerns in development of policies and legal interventions to combat global warming.
To advance female participation in climate talks, participants emphasized the need for conservation lobbies to organize several workshops to enlighten grassroots women on the international climate regime before the November COP 19 meeting in Warsaw. Women are a strategic asset that a country should utilize to strengthen action on climate change. Kenyan gender specialists regretted that cultural taboos, policy and legal bottlenecks alongside poverty have sidelined women in management of natural resources.
Women have limited control over natural resources like forests, land and water. Poverty and low literacy levels have undermined their contribution to environmental conservation, remarked an official at the National Gender and Equality Commission, Hulda Ouma She reiterated that political goodwill is key to implementation of international treaties on gender empowerment.
Other participants at the roundtable said that Kenya should set a special fund to support female led initiatives on climate change mitigation and adaptation. There is need for the Kenyan government to fully recognize the critical role of women in natural resources management. Participants urged civil society and the government to partner and provide grassroots women with timely information regarding climate change negotiations.
Documenting best practices, regular trainings and capacity building on gender and climate change should be prioritized to ensure grassroots women are key players in design and implementation of mitigation and adaptation strategies. The roundtable proposed regular consultations with African group of negotiators to highlight gender concerns in climate change talks.