Climate change is a defining threat to peace and security in the 21st century – its impacts are felt by everyone, but not equally. Gender norms and power dynamics shape how women and men of different backgrounds experience or contribute to insecurity in a changing climate.
For researchers looking into global security dynamics, it is becoming increasingly difficult to overlook climate change as a threat multiplier in conflict situations. While climate change may not directly cause conflict, it may be inextricably woven into pre-existing conflicts of power, ethnicity, and economic interest. Understading the role of climate-related impacts on security is therefore crucial for global peace.
For the past decade, western public discourse and the policy world have become increasingly concerned about ‘irregular’ migration and, to a slightly lesser extent perhaps, what driving role conflict and climate change play in triggering it. Addressing the causes and effects requires having a better understanding of the impacts that climate change has on multi-dimensional crises and the knock-on effect this has on migration. A key factor in understanding how these processes affect different women, girls, men, boys and other gender identities is gender.
In this 2016 report, the expert authors examine the link between gender and the environment in order to promote gender-sensitive policies and actions. Input to the report was also given by major groups and international organization. The report identifies gender inequality as one of the most urging threats to sustainable development, which is why it needs actions that position women and men as equal agents.
This publication by UN Women is part of the project 'Reducing Vulnerability of Women Affected by Climate Change through Viable Livelihood Options', which explores the impacts of migration on women caused by climate change-related phenomena.
In the context of gender and climate change, focus is often laid on women as a particularly vulnerable group that is strongly affected by the impacts of climate change. While this is a highly important issue to address, it should not be neglected that other aspects of climate change and climate policy also have gender dimensions. The implementation of gender-sensitive climate policies can maximise potential co-benefits and synergies.