Gender equality and development

Making climate finance work for women: Overview of bilateral ODA to gender and climate change




Download the pdf

Making climate finance work for women

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change. In many developing contexts, women’s livelihoods are dependent on climate-sensitive sectors such as subsistence agriculture, forestry and water. Women and girls also typically have less capacity and resources than men and boys to prepare for and adapt to climate change. For example, restrictions on women’s land ownership mean that many women do not have access to productive land to farm, while a lack of financial capital and access to technologies means they cannot easily diversify their livelihoods.
At the same time, women and girls who experience the consequences of climate change are often leaders in developing effective coping strategies and building resilience, for example by adapting their farming practices. Both women and men have important insights to contribute to designing and implementing effective climate responses and should be fully included in decision-making relating to climate change at all levels.
This brief is a contribution to the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) and a submission of recommendations for the renewal of the Lima Work Programme on Gender. It provides an overview of how members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) are integrating gender equality into their bilateral ODA to climate change and makes recommendations to improve the gender-responsiveness of climate action.

Key findings

Climate ODA that also supports the achievement of gender equality accounted for 31% of bilateral ODA to climate change in 2014 – a total of USD 8 billion. Just 3% had gender equality as a principal objective, while 28% integrated gender equality as a secondary objective.

Gender equality is better integrated in adaptation than in mitigation activities. In 2014, 46% of bilateral ODA to adaptation only targeted gender equality, compared with 28% to mitigation only.

Attention to gender equality is uneven across climate-related sectors. While gender equality is quite well integrated in climate-related aid to agriculture and water, it is poorly addressed in economic infrastructure sectors. In 2013-14, only 8% of climate-related aid to energy targeted gender equality.

Donors should improve their support to locally-led action on gender and climate change through multi-year and predictable funding for southern civil society organisations, including women’s rights organisations. Only 2% of all gender-responsive climate aid went to southern civil society organisations in 2014, representing USD 132 million.

More needs to be done to improve women’s opportunities to participate in the green economy, notably through ensuring that women benefit equally from development projects focusing on clean technology and renewable energy.


Further information:

Download the previous gender and climate change brief produced by the GENDERNET for COP21 (English version) (French version).