The United States Agency for International Development is partnering with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to address Gender-based violence in climate sectors through a a ten-year program launched by the USAID in 2014 and implemented IUCN to increase the effectiveness of USAID’s environment programing through robust gender integration and improve gender equality and women’s empowerment outcomes in a broad range of environmental sectors..
TOP AFRICA NEWS learnt that through its Advancing Gender in the Environment (AGENT) partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), USAID is providing $3.3 million grants to organizations working to address gender-based violence in climate sectors through the Resilient, Inclusive, and Sustainable Environment (RISE) Challenge.
Additionally, AGENT is supporting national governments to develop action plans, building on their national climate plans, to address climate-related gender inequality.
As IUCN’s 2020 research, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), found, gender-based violence is used to reinforce discriminatory status quos surrounding women’s access, use, control, ownership and decision-making over land and natural resources – and these dynamics are further exacerbated in the context of climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss.
The human, social and economic cost of gender-based violence impacts individuals, communities and entire societies, hindering individuals’ ability to engage in and benefit from environmental conservation and threatens the resilience, prosperity and wellness of entire communities and societies.
On November 14, 2022, Gender Day at COP27, the U.S. government announced the following strategies, initiatives, and programs addressing the disproportionate impacts of the climate crisis on women and girls and empowering women and girls as climate leaders:
Strategies & Initiatives
- U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally: The forthcoming update to the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally will, for the first time, incorporate intersections between gender-based violence, climate change, and the environment. The Strategy will be released later this year. (White House)
- White House Guidance for Federal Agencies and Departments on Indigenous Knowledge: The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) will be previewing the first-ever government-wide guidance on how U.S. federal agencies can better recognize and apply Indigenous Knowledge (also known as Traditional Ecological Knowledge) in their work, including work related to climate change. The guidance will acknowledge gender disparities in climate impacts and the important role that Indigenous Knowledge can play in assessing and addressing the climate crisis. (White House)
- USAID’s Commitment to Gender-Responsive Climate Action: USAID is dedicating more than $21 million to gender-responsive climate action from the Gender Equity and Equality Action (GEEA) Fund, surpassing its $14 million COP26 commitment. This includes a suite of commitments in support of gender and climate change, including scaling women’s access to green jobs, in partnership with the Department of Energy, advancing women’s economic security through promoting women’s land rights, and several landmark activities detailed in the “Programming” section below.
- Empowering Girl Climate Leaders & Activists: The Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues will initiate a global network of girls working to lead climate solutions in their communities and advocate for climate policies and action both locally and internationally. (Department of State)
- Women in Energy Strategy: The Bureau of Energy Resources recently announced the official launch of the Women in Energy Strategy that the Department of State is piloting with the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. The strategy engages local energy officials, utilities, private companies, and educational and research bodies to increase women’s access to energy sector opportunities. The Bureau of Energy Resources will soon launch the strategy globally. (Department of State)
- Egyptian Pioneers Program ($23 million): USAID is spurring climate action by investing in education and skills building for women and youth. USAID has made a $23 million initial investment in the new nine-year Egyptian Pioneers program that aims to build a more inclusive and capable Egyptian workforce, with an emphasis on sectors with the potential to contribute to climate goals such as environment and energy. (USAID)
- Climate Gender Equity Fund ($6 million): Through its Climate Finance Development Accelerator (CFDA), USAID announces the creation of its new Climate Gender Equity Fund, which will leverage private sector funding to scale climate finance that advances gender-equitable climate action. Launched through a five-year partnership with Amazon, with initial seed funding of $6 million, the fund will leverage public and private sector investment to increase access to climate finance for women-led climate organizations, and businesses that advance gender-equitable climate solutions in least developed countries. (USAID)
- Advancing Women in the Environment ($3.3 million): Through its Advancing Gender in the Environment (AGENT) partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), USAID is providing grants to organizations working to address gender-based violence in climate sectors through the Resilient, Inclusive, and Sustainable Environment (RISE) Challenge. Additionally, AGENT is supporting national governments to develop action plans, building on their national climate plans, to address climate-related gender inequality. (USAID)
- Climate Change and Women in STEM in the Indo-Pacific Region ($1.5 million): Supported by the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, this project seeks to increase women’s participation in the clean energy workforce globally through policy dialogues and small grants, ultimately empowering women as leaders in tackling the climate crisis and transitioning to a net-zero emission energy future. (Department of State)
- Inclusive Action for Climate Change ($1.5 million): Inclusive Action for Climate Change is a funding opportunity from the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs that uses the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda to address the twin themes of women’s participation and climate crisis adaptation. The project seeks to strengthen the capacity of women-led organizations in Bangladesh, Maldives, and Nepal to participate in political discussions regarding national and local policies on climate change; advance the role of women in community resolution of conflicts arising from climate change and its effects; and assist women-led organizations to advocate for and achieve gender equity and equality in climate change adaptation efforts. (Department of State)
- Empowering Women in Sustainable Energy in Indonesia: ($422,000): USAID’s Sustainable Energy for Indonesia’s Advancing Resilience (SINAR) is empowering women across the sustainable energy sector through partnerships with universities, the Renewable Energy Directorate (EBTKE) in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR), Indonesia’s national power utility (PLN), and Indonesia’s oil and gas company, Pertamina. These partnerships will support the integration of gender equality and social inclusion across the sector and to empower women to be agents of change in Indonesia’s transition to low-carbon energy sources. (USAID)
- Central Africa Women’s Initiative for Climate Action (WICA) ($150,000): Designed to strengthen capacity and increase participation of early-career women in the national climate change processes of Cameroon, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo, the WICA initiative is funded in part by the SilvaCarbon Program, which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service and jointly financed by the U.S. Department of State and USAID. Over 100 women have participated in a series of workshops about climate change science, greenhouse gas accounting, the social and economic impacts of the climate crisis, climate finance, and national and international climate policy. (Department of State)
- Pacific Regional Women in Energy Conference & Clean Energy Workshop ($65,000): The Bureau of Energy Resources, Embassy Suva, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) co-hosted a Pacific Regional Women in Energy and Clean Energy Workshop for approximately 80 participants from across the region. The events engaged local energy officials, utilities, private companies, and educational and research bodies to commit to the institutional changes, policies, and practices that will increase women’s access to energy sector opportunities and promote clean energy transition in the region. The conference concluded with the election of a regional steering committee that will oversee implementation of SPC’s three-year Pacific Energy Gender Strategic Action Plan (PEGSAP), which was also officially launched at the event. (Department of State)
- Clean Energy Ministerial Equality Initiative New Ambassador Cohort ($70,000): The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM)’s Equality in Energy Transitions Initiative’s Ambassadors Program aims to have at least 4-6 new ambassadors to announce by COP27. Nominations will continue past COP27 with an aim to reach further ambassadors outside of the Equality Initiative membership. (Department of Energy)
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