Gender and Climate Finance

Liane Schalatek and Smita Nakhooda
Heinrich Boll Stiftung


Women, who form the majority of the world’s two billion poorest people, are often disproportionally affected by climate change impacts as a result of persisting gender norms and discriminations. Women and men also contribute to climate change responses in different ways. The Cancun Agreements acknowledge that gender equality and the effective participation of women are important for all aspects of any response to climate change, but especially for adaptation. Gender-responsive climate financing instruments and funding allocations are needed. This is a matter of using scarce public funding in an equitable, efficient and effective way. It also acknowledges that climate finance decisions are not made within a normative vacuum, but must be guided by the acknowledgement of women’s rights as unalienable human rights. Many climate funds started out gender-blind, but over the past few years have recognized the need to consider gender retroactively, resulting in important fund structure and policy improvements. In contrast, the Green Climate Fund, which weeks before Paris approved its first projects, started out with a mandate to integrate a gender perspective from the outset into its operational and policy frameworks. It could set new best practice for gender-responsiveness in funding climate actions by addressing not only the way how, but also what it will fund. This note outlines some key principles and actions for making climate-financing instruments more responsive to the needs of men and women as equal participants in decision-making about and beneficiaries of climate actions.