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COP27 Daily Insights - Day 8: Water and Gender Day

14 November 2022

By Amelia Beale & Sophie Morello

The second week of COP27 started with “Water and Gender” Day, as key voices rallied together to discuss the two critical themes.  

Meanwhile, even though talks were due to conclude at the weekend, many issues remain unresolved and discussions are ongoing.  COP27 President Sameh Shoukry is said to have told attendees that his team will push to conclude the agreement text by Wednesday.  

But there was a major announcement today from President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping from further afield. They met in Bali ahead of the G20 Summit and said they had agreed to restart climate cooperation talks as part of international climate negotiations. In addition, there have been reports that the three tropical rainforest nations — Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo — have signed a strategic alliance to coordinate their conservation efforts.

The need for productive talks was made more apparent today, with the annual climate change performance index revealing that no country is on the pathway to 1.5C. The analysis from Germanwatch, NewClimate Institute and CAN International ranked Demark and Sweden top, with Australia and Canada near the bottom of the list. The UK was ranked 11th of 60 countries / regions assessed on emissions, renewable energy, energy use and climate policy. 

Gender Day 

The discussions on “Gender Day” focused on the impact of climate change on women, the power of women-lead solutions, and the need for gender sensitive policies and access to “Gender Responsive Climate Financing”.  

The dialogue in Sharm-el-Sheikh emphasised the stark reality that women — particularly those from poorer nations — continue to bear a disproportionate burden of the adverse impacts of climate change. With “Africa’s COP” providing a platform for the nation’s voices, the agenda highlighted that many women in the developing world work in sectors that are highly exposed to climate shocks — such as agriculture, energy, forestry, water, and health. With livelihoods at threat, climate change is threatening to exacerbate women’s time in poverty, and as a result, increasing exposure to existing vulnerabilities such as gender-based violence and sexual exploitation.   

Beyond recognising the gender discrepancies of the impacts of climate change, today saw a call for the gender perspective to be fed into all climate policies and solutions. Put best by Climate Activist, Elizabeth Wathuti, “We need to put women’s needs, experiences, and their wisdom at the centre of places where policies are being made. Women are not only the victims of the climate crisis, they are also the leaders who can lead us out of this crisis”.

Whilst it is reassuring to see gender on this year’s agenda, there is a lot of progress to be made. Last week saw leaders join together for a “family photo” — a photo which acted as a clear reminder of the work that still needs to be done to reach gender equality in the climate debate.  

Water Day

Today was also the first ever Water Day at COP; a critical theme considering the huge impact climate change is already having on water supply, as seen with record-breaking droughts this year and major cities such as Cape Town and Cairo under water stress.

The day started with the launch of Action on Water Adaptation and Resilience Initiative (AWARe) which supports cooperation to address water as key to climate change adaptation and resilience. The initiative seeks to decrease water loss and improve water supply worldwide; propose and support implementing mutually agreed policy and methods for cooperative water-related adaptation action and its co-benefits; and promote cooperation and interlinkages between water and climate action.

Also today, the Glasgow Declaration for Fair Water Footprint called on governments in both developed and developing countries, progressive businesses, financiers and NGOs to join this leadership initiative which puts climate resilient and equitable water management at the heart of the global economy by 2030.

An African Cities Water Adaptation Fund (ACWA Fund) has also been launched by the World Resource Institute (WRI) together with public and private sector partners, development banks, impact investors, state and non-state actors. It is a new Africa-focused blended finance instrument that aims to fund and scale high-impact water resilience solutions across Africa.

Coming up….

Tomorrow is focused on Energy and Civil Society and we’ll be monitoring closely for announcements around the implementation of renewable infrastructure.