A decision on GAP comes through at Bonn climate talks

IN the wake of news that negotiations on the draft Gender Action Plan on climate change had been successful in week one of COP23 in Germany, Fiji’s Minister for Women Mereseini Vuniwaqa says this is an achievement for women everywhere.

“There’s no lack of goodwill towards women, only an unconscious bias mostly,” she said.

“It is easy to plan development policies or investment at the macro level without factoring in specific targeting for women and girls. The assumption I think is that everyone will benefit.”

Ms Vuniwaqa said the new GAP provided the parties to the Paris Agreement with a wholesome package to “inculcate gender into development plans”.

“And on the ground, we can talk about our national budget this year which has allocated money for streetlights in settlements between Suva and Nausori and even in rural areas.”

The GAP requires that specific objectives for women in specific actions which target women’s economic and investment goals.

“If we understand the special place women have in our communities and act accordingly, we don’t just do nice things for women, we create stronger programs, we have more effective responses, we build better communities — resilient ones,” Ms Vuniwaqa said.

Meanwhile, WWF policy adviser, Alfred Ralifo said the GAP was a good start but said more work needed to be done.

The GAP has five priority areas:

• Capacity building, knowledge sharing and communications;

• Gender balance, women participation and leadership;

• Coherence;

• Gender-responsive implementation and means of implementation; and

• Monitoring and reporting.

According to Mr Ralifo, the priority areas outlined require of the parties specific actions under each priority and includes actors, a timeline and deliverables which will be monitored and must be reported.

“I think one thing that could be improved in terms of the GAP is strengthening of the language in terms of financing of the plan. There are some references to promote funding to support women participation in the UNFCCC. Otherwise its a start,” Mr Ralifo said.

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