On December 9, the Conference of the Parties welcomed the 3rd Gender Day, giving space to a series of events designed to put the emphasis on gender equality and the importance of legitimating and confer real powers to women.
The COP20 could represent a milestone in the efforts to include women’s rights and the issue of gender equality in a global process. In light of the anniversary, to be held next year in the Beijing Platform for Action, careful consideration of gender equality in terms of practical decisions, not just vague statements, is highly desirable.
Already in Doha in 2012, a decision was adopted promoting gender balance and allowing greater participation of women in decision-making within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Women and Gender Constituency (WGC) has worked hard to include in all climate discussions, agreements on gender equity and human rights, as these are cross-cutting themes. This means including a gender perspective in all decision-making bodies and the discussions that are taking place these days in Lima.
In other words, there is an urgent need for a meaning to be given to the rhetoric of gender equality in the negotiations on mitigation, adaptation and on Loss and Damage.
For those that sadly have forgotten it, vulnerability to climate change can be defined as the characteristics of a person or a group of people in terms of capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist and recover from the impacts of climate disasters.
However, those with fewer resources (read: women) have more difficulty in adapting. Adaptability is connected to technology, access to resources, education and information, while many women still dream of these requirements to live a decent life.
It is time for those who will make decisions support the legitimacy that the power of women is a must and not just a possibility to consider, in all sectors, in all conferences and at all levels of decision making at the local or international level.
Change takes time, but as the water erodes the rock as it flows into the estuary, so will human rights, and when the time is come, what has to happen will happen despite stubborn opposition to real change.
This is the time: we will use this opportunity wisely.
Lima is a unique opportunity, better to kill two birds with one stone.
By Chiara Zanotelli and Daniele Savietto