Climate change is one of today’s most ominous crises. Most of the recent natural disasters are attributed to the changes undergone by the planet as caused by global warming. Addressing this anthropogenic phenomenon concerns all fields of expertise as its harsh consequences could lead to problems on food security, human health, water supply, settlements, and economic development.
In 2008, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) considered climate change as an emerging issue. It focused on the fact that climate change is not a gender-neutral phenomenon, stressing that it has a direct impact on women’s lives due to their domestic work and makes their everyday sustenance even more difficult. The Commission recognizing this called for efforts on financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women, specifically referring to the impact of climate change on women and girls.
The CSW also called for governments to:
- integrate a gender perspective into the design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting of national environmental policies;
- strengthen mechanisms; and
- provide adequate resources to ensure women’s full and equal participation in decision-making at all levels on environmental issues, particularly on strategies related to the impact of climate change on the lives of women and girls.
As women are engaged in more climate related change activities than what is deemed by the society being the managers of the household, they could contribute a lot in the mitigation and adaptation to changes in climatic conditions. Women’s role in the home i.e. utilization of gas or wood for cooking, recycling and waste management etc. make them important agents for the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emission and resources depletion that contribute to environmental degradation.
In 2009, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources partnered with the Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), a German private international enterprise specializing in sustainable development,through its Adaptation to Climate Change and Conservation of Biodiversity in the Philippines (ACCBio) Program, to form the Inter-Agency Committee on Climate Change Adaptation (IACCC) which had the primary task of formulating the Philippine Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation (PSCCA).
The climate change adaptation strategies enumerated in the PSCCA are broadly stated as follows:
- Creating an enabling environment for mainstreaming climate change adaptation based on a decentralized framework of good governance.
- Reducing climate change risks and vulnerability of human and natural ecosystems through ecosystem-based management approaches and appropriate technologies.
- Establishing knowledge management systems on climate change based on science and experiences of communities.
- Ensuring that processes such as policy formulation, development planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation are gender responsive and non-discriminatory. For equitable programs and actions, purposive researches on the differentiated impacts of climate change on women and men as well as their levels of participation in governance and socio-economic activities shall be conducted.
The PSCCA further states that “Mainstreaming gender in all levels of climate change adaptation policy formulation, development planning, and implementation are made integral part of the strategies.” Hence, gender concerns and actions should also be implemented in the first three strategies mentioned.
The Philippines, showing its exuberance in addressing climate change has initiated a groundbreaking resolution during the 55th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)in March 2011. The Philippine-initiated resolution entitled “Mainstreaming Gender Equality and Promoting Empowerment of Women in Climate Policies and Strategies” highlighted the need to ensure women’s full enjoyment of all human rights and their effective participation in environmental decision-making at all levels and was adopted in consensus by the Commission’s Member States.