Gender-responsive climate finance: The key to just climate action and tackling inequalities
This expert paper, written by Eurodad's Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer for Climate Finance, Leia Achampong, looks at the gendered impacts of national and personal debt, and how this exacerbates inequalities, poverty and human rights.
Countries in the global south have historically contributed the least to causing climate change, yet their economies are disproportionately impacted by the consequences of climate change. With 2023 set to be the hottest year on record, there is a clear case for all countries and communities in need to have the ability to implement climate measures to address climate impacts. The over-exposure of countries in the global south to ongoing loss and damage is harming their ability to finance climate and development measures including as a result of the cycle of climate-induced debt and fiscal deficits. The impact of this on women is particularly stark. A 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report highlights that women, children, Indigenous Peoples and racialised communities are disproportionately vulnerable and impacted by climate change and ongoing loss and damage.
Ecosystems that sustain societies and communities, such as agriculture, are often commodified and priced. More than 40 per cent of the agricultural labour force in countries in the global south is made up of women. By one estimate, “ecosystem services and other non-marketed goods make up between 50% and 90% of the total ‘GDP of the poor’”. Climate change is already having an impact on ecosystems and food production systems in the agriculture, fisheries and coastal aquaculture sectors, through degraded water quality, soil erosion and lower crop yields. Women are often the first to feel these impacts. Despite these impacts, in 2019, just 2 per cent of global climate finance reached small farmers, indigenous peoples and local communities in the global south. The structured inequality of climate change on women is undermining their human rights, facilitating impoverishment and entrenching gender inequalities. Indeed, the intersectional dimension of society means that inequalities between women are also being exacerbated.