Our Common Future Under Climate Change

International Scientific Conference 7-10 JULY 2015 Paris, France

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Thursday 9 July - 16:30-18:00 UNESCO Fontenoy - ROOM VI

3341 - Gender and Climate Change: From Vulnerability to Mainstreaming in Adaptation and Mitigation

Parallel Session

Lead Convener(s): M.A. Nahian (International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr, b). Dhaka, Bangladesh., Dhaka, Bangladesh)

16:30

Is gender being meaningfully engaged in climate change adaptation, resilience, and vulnerability research?

A. Bunce (McGill University, Montreal, Canada), J. Ford (McGill University, Montreal, Canada)

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Is gender being meaningfully engaged in climate change adaptation, resilience, and vulnerability research?

A. Bunce (1) ; J. Ford (1)
(1) McGill University, Geography, Montreal, Canada

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          The last decade has experienced a rapid growth in climate change adaptation, resilience and vulnerability (ARV) research. Concurrently, there is growing recognition that climate change impacts and experiences are gendered, and must be accounted for in research. Yet some have argued that engagement with ‘gender’ has been tokenistic, simply stating that climate change will have differential impacts. It is therefore necessary, given the rapid expansion of literature in this field, to critically analyze the framing of concepts of gender within the literature. In order to determine how meaningfully gender is being addressed in ARV research, we created a conceptual model capturing key components of ‘meaningfulness.’ Meaningfulness is ascribed as being a function of gender mainstreaming, the experience of gender, and the degree of action being taken. Using a systematic literature review methodology, 123 peer reviewed ARV articles with a gender focus were analyzed.

                While 41% of analyzed articles were found to have high levels of meaningfulness, significant variations across regions and disciplines emerged. Research occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa was found to consistently engage with gender in a highly meaningful manner. Although a great deal of gender focused ARV research is occurring in Bangladesh and Australia, overall these nations exhibited low levels of meaningfulness. Health, environmental management, and hazards research emerged as disciplines engaging with gender in the most meaningful manner, although areas needing improvement became apparent. Gender focused work in this field focuses almost exclusively on women, with very little research examining male experiences and no work accounting for those identifying outside the gender binary. While meaningful work is occurring, 31% of the surveyed research was found to have low levels of meaningfulness, demonstrating a need to highlight meaningful methods to reconcile climate change and gender. This conceptual model provides a baseline understanding of how ARV research is integrating concepts of gender into their work which researchers can use to ensure more meaningful engagement with gender in future research.

16:40

The importance of marital status and intrahousehold relations in climate change adaptation: Evidence from rural Tanzania

K. Van Aelst (Institute of Development Policy and Management, University of Antwerp, Antwerp , Belgium)

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The importance of marital status and intrahousehold relations in climate change adaptation: Evidence from rural Tanzania

K. Van Aelst (1)
(1) Institute of Development Policy and Management, University of Antwerp, Antwerp , Belgium

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Even though scholars have widely recognized that women in developing countries are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, only scant attention has been drawn to how women and men are practically dealing with these differential vulnerabilities. Climate change scholars have recognized gender as an influential factor in climate change adaptation, but generally simplify and dichotomize between men and women as homogeneous categories. Gender analysts however, have recognized the importance of the intersections between gender and other socio-economic characteristics like class, household structure, life cycle stage and age. Based on both quantitative and qualitative methods, this research examines how women’s adaptation strategies are mediated through their marital status in rural Tanzania. This study finds evidence, first, for female divorcees’ and widows’ disadvantaged position in agricultural water management compared to married women. Second, with regard to livelihood diversification, evidence is found of a diversification at household level, combined with a specialization at individual members’ level, as well as of female divorcees’ high involvement in off-farm income-earning activities. We develop a typology to illustrate how adaptive capacity relates to marital to status and intrahousehold relations, and suggest that the respondents’ current climate change adaptation strategies risk increasing married women’s dependence on men and worsening their intra-household bargaining position.

16:50

Engendering climate smart agricultural Innovations in East Africa

M. Nyasimi (Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security, Nairobi, Kenya), R. Aura (Egerton University, Nakuru, Kenya), M. Phiri (COMESA, Lusaka, Zambia), C. Mungai (Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security, Nairobi, Kenya)

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Engendering climate smart agricultural Innovations in East Africa

M. Nyasimi (1) ; R. Aura (2) ; M. Phiri (3) ; C. Mungai (1)
(1) Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security, East Africa, Nairobi, Kenya; (2) Egerton University, Faculty of law, Nakuru, Kenya; (3) COMESA, Climate change, Lusaka, Zambia

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Gender differences amongst African societies persist particularly in social, cultural and economic roles and responsibilities, access to information and agricultural inputs. Long-term climate change in Africa will have an impact on food security and incomes, and this is likely to have ramifications for gender relations. Studies have shown that gender in conjunction with other factors such as age, wealth, religion and class determines the ways in which the changing climate is experienced. This is because extreme weather events and climate related disasters in juxtaposition with socio-economic, institutional, cultural and political factors  tend to intensify existing gender inequalities and responses to climate change in the agriculture sector.  In East Africa women make up a large number of the poor in communities that are highly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood and are disproportionately vulnerable to and affected by climate change.  Their limited access to resources and decision-making processes further exacerbates  their vulnerability to climate change.

Against this backdrop, a study was conducted in east Africa with the aim of contributing new knowledge on how men and women adjust their livelihoods and coping strategies at individual, household and village level in response to climate risks. Using integrative gender scoping tools and methods, a qualitative and quantitative research study was carried out. The objectives of the study were a) to characterize gendered climate risks over the past five decades, b) to identify the coping strategies that men and women farmers utilize in order to ensure a measure of food security in response to climate variability, c) to understand the resources available to men and women and the decision making processes utilized, and d) to identify the institutions that support women and men's decision making with regard to climate, agriculture and food security.

Two hundred farmers, half of whom are women were interviewed and 5 focus group discussions held.  Research findings show that women perform 65% of off-farm work during drought because only a few of them have property rights (25%) and hence cannot sell/or trade any household goods to fill in the food shortage gaps. In terms of perceived changes in weather-related shocks over the last fifty years, more women than men report having observed floods, erratic rainfall and droughts.

The study shows that both genders are adapting to changing climate, and their changes are seasonal rather than transformational. 64% of men and 57% of women reported to have made changes in their agricultural, livestock or livelihood practices in response to the climate risks. Most women reported that they ration foods and just a few of them reported constructing water pans to store runoff and for use during drier periods, selling baskets and ropes, altering crop varieties and planting dates. However, this is done after seeking consent from the heads of households. Without the power to decide on family resources, women's ability to manage risks for example, by diversifying crops and livestock, altering planting dates is limited. In terms of accessing weather forecast and agro-advisory services 80% of men and 40% of women report having access to information on seasonal weather forecasts, inputs supplies and extension services. Women's inability to access new knowledge makes them more vulnerable to climate impacts than men and therefore, gender transformative activities including empowerment might be one approach to adaptation.

In the interest of gender equity and climate change adaption efficiency and resilience, these barriers must be alleviated or removed. Policy, strategies and investment responses at local and national levels must meet the specific needs of women and men. The methodology developed through this study as well as the research findings will be provided to policy and decision makers to develop Local Adaptation Plans of Actions (LAPAs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) at County and National levels, respectively in a pragmatic manner.

17:00

Women in Changing Climate: Findings from Cyclone Aila Affected Coastal Communities of Bangladesh

M. A. Nahian (International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr, b). Dhaka, Bangladesh., Dhaka, Bangladesh), G. T. Islam, (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dhaka, Bangladesh), S. K. Bala, (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dhaka, Bangladesh)

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Women in Changing Climate: Findings from Cyclone Aila Affected Coastal Communities of Bangladesh

MA. Nahian (1) ; GT. Islam, (2) ; SK. Bala, (2)
(1) International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr, b). Dhaka, Bangladesh., Center for Population, Urbanization and Climate change (CPUCC), Dhaka, Bangladesh; (2) Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Institute of water and flood management (iwfm), Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Climate change is harsh reality in Bangladesh in terms of gradual changes and disaster events. The country has been identified as most vulnerable to tropical cyclones, third most vulnerable to sea level rise and sixth most vulnerable to floods. However, climate change associated adversity and vulnerability is contextual and gender specific and is magnifying the socially constructed inequalities between men and women where women are always the worst victim due to their gender differentiated roles and lack of access and control over resources. The study, carried out in three major cyclone Aila affected unions- tried to explore the gender dimension of climate change induced vulnerability considering women not only the victim rather an agent of change. Contrary to common vulnerability analysis and studies, this study tried to quantify vulnerability with a developed matrix framework in a scale of 3.0. The gender dimension of climate change induced vulnerability has been assessed in terms of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity; considering both gradual changes or climate events and disaster events or climate extremes. The primary idea of the vulnerability assessment has been derived from the concept of Sustainable Livelihood Framework and Harvard Gender Analytical Framework. Using the basic and simplest equation of “Vulnerability = (Exposure x Sensitivity) / Adaptive Capacity,” the matrix framework calculated contextual vulnerability and total vulnerability based on community (women group only) perception. The vulnerability assessment of gender community, i.e. women has been done in Padmapukur and Gabura unions from Shyamnagar upazilla, Satkhira and Dakhin Bedkashi union, Koyra upazilla of Khulna in 2012 where the impact of cyclone Aila was most pronounced and after effect was lasted for several years. The climate change induced vulnerability of gender community of Padmapukur, Gabura and Dakhin Bedkashi was 2.56, 2.53 and 2.61 respectively. It was found that, respondents from Padmapukur and Gabura unions perceived themselves more vulnerable to climate change associated gradual changes or climate events whereas Dakhin Bedkashi respondents identified themselves more vulnerable to climate change associated extremes or disaster events. Interestingly, the perceptions greatly coincided with direct impact, number of causalities, damage done and post disaster response and development intervention as well as location of study areas. The basic idea behind the vulnerability assessment matrix development was to provide tool that can capture overall gender dimension of vulnerability due to climate change impact. Community, based on their perception ranked impact (exposure), effect (sensitivity) and effectiveness (adaptive capacity) to assess their geo-specific vulnerability; the total vulnerability score for all three study area lied in moderate to extreme category. The linkage among exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity showed that Bangladesh had achieved remarkably success in disaster preparedness; but significantly lacked experience to deal with the ongoing changes taking place in climate. The study also explored various complexities experienced by only women due to climate change associated events and extremes and accumulated suggestion for disaster preparedness, improvement in cyclone warning signal and modification for gender friendly design of cyclone shelters. Key suggestions also been assessed in line with climate change coping, adaptation and mitigation directly from the climate vulnerable community. Women is the integral part of the society and sustainable development initiatives and based on the overall findings, the study suggested ‘bottom up-top support’ institutional framework for gender mainstreaming.  

17:10

Household Dynamics in Adoption of Resilient Farming technologies in Semi-arid Kenya

D. Kangogo (International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Nairobi, Kenya)

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Household Dynamics in Adoption of Resilient Farming technologies in Semi-arid Kenya

D. Kangogo (1)
(1) International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Agriculture and Food Security, Nairobi, Kenya

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Household Dynamics in Adoption of Resilient Farming technologies in Semi-arid Kenya.

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Countries in sub-Saharan Africa are particularly vulnerable to climate change, given their limited capacity to adapt. Strengthening agricultural production systems is therefore a fundamental means of improving incomes and food security for the largest group of food insecure households.  To build such systems, development practitioners have advocated for climate smart agriculture, a system that sustainably increases productivity and system resilience while reducing vulnerability of smallholder farmers. This requires a substantial investment in agricultural technology innovations. While climate smart agriculture through agricultural technology innovations have been introduced in Kenya, their proliferation has been low, slow and incomplete among the smallholder farmers. To address this, a participatory action research project funded by the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund endeavoured to catalyze large scale adoption of agricultural innovations that enhance social and ecological resilience in Kenya’s Semi-arid lands. The study focused on the adoption of three technologies; improved maize seeds, improved green gram seeds and indigenous chicken. Based on household survey data collected from Machakos and Makueni counties of Kenya, this study sought to determine the gender differences in the adoption of multiple resilient farming technologies among the smallholder farmers in semi-arid eastern Kenya using gender of the farm manager as the gender identifier. It also examines the factors that influence household level of resilience measured by the number and types of technology adopted. The results show that male-headed households differ significantly with the de facto female-headed households in terms of age, education, number of trainings and the adoption of a combination of improved maize and indigenous chicken. On the other hand, de facto and de jure female-headed households differ significantly with regard to age, education, crop mix, remittances and the adoption of improved maize, improved green grams and a combination of a combination of improved maize and indigenous chicken. Ordered probit model results on determinants of household resilience indicate that household type, education, land size, crop mix and market opportunity groups are key in influencing household resilience. This emphasizes the need for greater investment in gender and rural agricultural development to ensure equitable and sustainable livelihood improvements.

 

17:20

Mainstreaming gender in climate compatible development

V. Le Masson (Overseas Development Institute, LONDON, United Kingdom)

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Mainstreaming gender in climate compatible development

V. Le Masson (1)
(1) Overseas Development Institute, Social Development / Climate and Environment, LONDON, United Kingdom

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While there has been progress on acknowledging the gender dimension as an integral part of climate policy at international, national and local levels around the world, there is still a long way to go to promote gender equality in climate negotiations.

Yet, recognising and exploring the gender dimension of climate change enables responses to be more grounded in people’s daily realities. Through highlighting societal factors that influence people’s vulnerability to environmental shocks and stresses, a gender perspective helps uncovering for instance, how men are distressed to the point of suicide in India due to agricultural losses leading to an inability to repay loans[i]; and the way in which women are more likely to die from floods because they have not learned to swim[ii] and cannot leave their houses without being accompanied by a male relative[iii].

A gender analysis in climate research allows understanding of socially constructed gender roles, relations and discrimination that shape the way climate change is perceived by men and women, how it will affect them differently and how they might organise different responses to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to longer-term impacts. This recognition has influenced the climate change and development communities to adopt various mainstreaming approaches to integrate gender into projects and programmes.

 

This presentation will document a few examples where projects have integrated gender considerations to highlight :

- what knowledge a gender approach enabled to uncover ;

- challenges and opportunities to implement gender integrated planning ;

- potential negative impacts of a gender-blind approach ;

- any opportunities to foster greater gender equality and better climate compatible development outcomes.

 

Lessons from these examples will serve to draw recommendations for future projects and for policies to ensure that attention to gender equality is not sidelined in climate debate and programming. This is particularly crucial for supporting the Lima Work Programme on Gender which aims to promote a greater awareness and consideration of gender issues within climate policy for COP21 and beyond.

 

References:

[i] Kennedy, J. King, L. (2014) The political economy of farmers’ suicides in India: indebted cash-crop farmers with marginal landholdings explain state-level variation in suicide rates. Globalisation and Health. 10(16).

[ii] Alam, E. Collins, A. (2010). Cyclone disaster vulnerability and response experiences in coastal Bangladesh. Disasters, 34(4): 931-954.

[iii] Bradshaw, S., & Fordham, M. (2013). Women, Girls, and Disasters: A Review for DFID. London: Department for International Development (DFID).

17:30

General Discussion

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General Discussion
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