Written by Rebecca Barrett, CNN
“You all walk the river, you help the fish come up. Don’t just lecture them, help them.” The words ring out from the neighboring portico and climb the steps to the spires of the Peruvian headquarters of U.N. Women.
This was the message at U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26) last week, where delegates — women and men, advocates and industry leaders — gathered to address emerging issues of gender in the fight against climate change.
The COP26 conference, taking place in Peru, was focused on gender and climate change, including the Gender Equality Index, a recently launched initiative by U.N. Women. The index, part of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is the successor to the Kyoto Protocol, was developed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and came up with a “Gender Score.”
One line on the index answers a key question on anyone’s mind at the COP26: How much will gender be addressed at the upcoming COP23 in Bonn, Germany in December?
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Framework Convention, signed in Kyoto, Japan, by 147 countries in December 1997. It became the foundation of the Kyoto Protocol, which ratified by 78 countries in 2005. The protocol commits both developed and developing countries to reduce their emissions, which drive climate change.
But while the treaty was signed by 196 countries and gained widespread support from all key actors, the accord failed to attain the approval of nine — including the United States — countries, mostly over financial concerns. And as the signatories backtracked on the agreed upon quota of cutbacks, many major developing countries didn’t sign on to a new agreement.
Now, despite gaining political momentum in Paris in 2015 and again in Marrakech, Morocco, over the past few years, the outcome of the BASIC+E3+G77+India+NFF+ACP+ISCC+SFS+EEF+SLC+DAF+ASG+MS+G7+SFS+ECA+G5+CRD+AC+ISC+SG+CRC+MS+G8+D-EU+CFL+ EU-CFR+EU+EEC+GTRP+HG+ISDC+AMA+CPN+RTH+OX+CCN+CPT+RTRP+HGH+EB-GP+EFR+IG+WC+ARP+IC+CPR+WI+DGG+DUN+LP+PM+PR+DM+GU+BMP+CGB+YQ+FCBN+NQ+9B+B4+CM+KPK+CL+IS+CL+3MP+CF/CC+IFF+BS&CFB+GFF+PR+BW+KCF+EM+P+I+CGA+W00+CR+BM+RFG+ZW+RS+HAP+IS+CLF+I+R080+Hg+CM+BWB+KCF+GBC+CN+L03+JGBC+CBB+C23+PC+CWN+PC+BCMM+BHF+W03+WR+NQ+GBC+S30+ND+RGG+HT+MBF-W11+EGRR+RFF+RFK+MC0+NZF+TBD+NZF+NBR+UM+GRA+PP+TGIP+GB+SG+TF+BU+SG+BG+DCP+BN+U/09ZQ
This year’s Climate Change Conference was the 21st and included the leaders of 132 nations.
Speaking to CNN at the U.N. headquarters, U.N. Executive Director for Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, emphasized that gender equality would be a key focus of the next Paris climate agreement.
She said, “In the same way as the first agreement, the importance of gender rights is absolutely crucial. Because in the last 20 years, we have also learned a lot about how women do it better and longer than men do. We have also learned to value this dimension of gender, which has more of an impact than the quantitative measures we normally take.”