Published 14 June 2023 in News
On June 22 and 23, 2023, a Summit for a New Global Financing Pact will be held in Paris, organized by France. Many leaders from States, governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector will be invited to discuss solutions for financing global development and the climate transition.
In order to decipher the stakes of this Summit, Focus 2030 aims to gather and highlight the point of view of organizations that are expert in their respective fields and is conducting a series of interviews with representatives of governments, international organizations, NGOs, think tanks, and others.
Discover our Special Edition about the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact and all the interviews with experts conducted ahead of the Summit.
Written interview received on June 6, 2023.
Focus 2030 : The Summit for a New Global Financing Pact aims to find financial solutions to the challenges of poverty and climate change, with a particular focus on vulnerable countries. WEDO has been working for more than 20 years on the links between climate justice and gender equality ; could you explain to what extent women face greater difficulties than men regarding climate change and poverty, especially on the African continent ?
Mwanahamisi Singano : On the surface, looking at gender and climate change is about how women, men, and gender-diverse people experience climate and environmental impacts differently. But applying a gender lens to the climate crisis also allows us to consider power more broadly – and see the patterns and structures in the world that keep systemic inequities in place.
As a result of structural discrimination and social norms, women, girls, and gender diverse people are disproportionately affected by climate change.We know, for example, that extreme heat and environmental pollutants have devastating health impacts on pregnant people and reproductive health. We know that, due to social norms that deem women caretakers, women are more likely to die in climate disasters and disproportionately take on caretaking duties after such events.
Last year, as part of the African Feminist Taskforce under the Women & Gender Constituency, we came up with 27 collective demands from African women and girls that speak to the realities we face on the African continent. These include women’s access to and control over land and respect for community agroecology ; renewable clean energy projects that reduce the burden of unpaid care work ; and enhancing the safety and security of women environmental defenders in conflict areas – among others.
Focus 2030 : WEDO contributed to the inclusion of language on women’s specific experience of climate change in the Paris agreement at the COP21 in 2015. What do you think are the best ways of ensuring that women’s voices are heard on the environmental, climate and development agendas, and how can we make sure this is the case during the Summit ?
Mwanahamisi Singano : First, we must acknowledge that women have a human right to fully, equally and meaningfully participate in the development and implementation of policies related to climate change and the environment. In the UNFCCC COPs, for example – where WEDO has historically tracked women’s participation and has the most data – we know that women are not participating fully, meaningfully and equally in the climate change negotiations. We also know that progress has been unevenly slow, and at times included setbacks.
In order to combat this inequality, we need more commitment and intentionality from governments and other stakeholders to achieve delegations with gender parity. We also need to guarantee that women have the same place of power in any climate negotiations–including in spaces (like COPs), where decisions hold the most weight. Equitable representation also goes beyond gender, to include ethnicity, race, class, ability, education, age, and geography, among others.
These recommendations can be applied to all global policy spaces – including the Summit.
Focus 2030 : In your view, what actions should be taken to mobilize new financing for climate justice and gender equality on a global scale ? To what extent do you think the Bridgetown Initiative can contribute to progress on these issues ? How can this aspect of the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact contribute to the upcoming COP28 ?
Mwanahamisi Singano : Our advocacy in the UNFCCC and beyond is grounded in an understanding of climate finance as an obligation of the Global North to pay its historical climate debt to the world. It should not be regarded as a matter of solidarity, but of obligations, including legal ones, and reparations. With this core understanding, climate finance should also be grant-based, gender-transformative, human-rights-centered, have public funding at its core, and be directly accessible, including by enhancing direct access for affected communities. Most importantly, climate finance pledges must go hand in hand with structural change, aligning finance flows with a climate just world and dismantling the unjust global economic order.
Bridgetown outlines broadscale proposals for systemic reform, with significant implications for both the climate and development landscapes. As a Global South, small island state led agenda that speaks the language of the IFIs, the initiative has opened space for debate about our global economic and financial governance in the context of the climate emergency—and an acknowledgement that major systemic changes are required for countries to escape their debt, development, and climate crises.
At the same time, our feminist analysis of Bridgetown raises serious concerns. Bridgetown’s conflation of development and climate risks undermining the requirement of climate finance to be “new and additional” to existing aid, and muddies the rationale for climate finance as rooted in the historical and ongoing obligations of industrialized countries. It risks over relying on private finance, and thus displacing the responsibility for global public goods onto the private sector (rather than on governments, for example via taxation). And perhaps most concerningly, Bridgetown operates completely outside the frameworks of multilateral agreements and structures such as the UNFCCC and the 2030 Agenda.
As feminists, we see both the Summit and COP28 as spaces for discussion around the systemic changes required in global economic, financial, and climate governance, in a way that addresses the root causes of the debt crisis and underfunding of public services and social protection.