Everybody is talking about the new climate fund, and so does GenderCC – Women for Climate Justice. Perhaps of all the areas of the negotiations, financing demonstrates most explicitly the various power relationships between and among governments and other stakeholders.
For the fund to be responsive to the needs of women and communities, gender must be integrated in all aspects of financing, from the management and operations of the Fund to the selection criteria of the projects to the monitoring of these projects. GenderCC – Women for Climate Justice, the global network of women’s organisations and gender activists, is providing a number of requirements in addition to those already voiced by environmental and development civil society organisations.
Funding criteria must ensure gender-sensitive spending. This includes, for instance, public infrastructures such as mass transportation for low carbon development, and water infrastructure for adaptation. High-risk technologies, which are particularly rejected by women, must not receive funding.
Reasonable portions of the budget must be earmarked for women, and the fund should include direct access modality particularly for organised women’s groups and communities. Such modality can actually be a political alternative in contexts where governments have been completely male-biased, repressive and unresponsive. The direct access modality is among the features of the Adaptation Fund, albeit limited to governments.
Governance and management of the fund: Gender balanced and gender budgeted. Gender balance must be observed especially in the bodies governing the fund. Women’s meaningful participation and community consultation must also be ensured in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the projects that are to be funded. Multilateral development banks must not have a role in managing the fund. In both the operations of the fund and its projects, gender budgeting must be applied.
Sources of the fund: No carbon markets and loans. Funds need to be reliable and independent from carbon market volatility, should not be based on offsetting, and loans must be avoided, as they would lead to further indebtedness and would exclude non-revenue generating programmes.
Finally, we recognize a broader picture. There are more basic issues such as access to land and resources such as food and water, citizenship and conflicts, among others which must be immediately addressed. Unless these older issues are addressed, the availability of more money might only fuel a scramble for resources, resulting in further dispossession, indignity and disempowerment, including violence against women.