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CARE’s COP27 response: One step forward, but many more needed

Protest march, woman holding

An attendee makes her feelings known at the #March4Women march for gender equality and climate justice in London on International Women’s Day 2020. Photo: Julie Edwards/CARE

An attendee makes her feelings known at the #March4Women march for gender equality and climate justice in London on International Women’s Day 2020. Photo: Julie Edwards/CARE

As the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (“COP27”) commenced, CARE made its position clear: for climate justice to be justice at all, it must be gender justice.

We are disappointed to say that while COP27 made some progress recognizing the importance of gender justice, attendees ultimately took no collective action. Two weeks of negotiations on the Gender Action Plan (GAP) review ended with no substantial progress. This means that governments have left women and girls, who are the most impacted by the effects of climate change, on the margins of climate action.

The lack of progress in this crucial area has many faces. For Alida, a woman farmer in rural Guatemala, it means that she must diversify into other sources of income – in her case, traditional weaving – simply to maintain a livelihood. Around the world, in countries most vulnerable to climate change, yet least responsible for causing it, these kinds of stories are repeated over and over.

Portrait of Alida, Guatemalan farmer and weaver
Due to the impact of climate change, women like Alida in Guatemala are diversifying their livelihoods, adding both crops and other sources of income -- in her case, traditional weaving. Photo: Laura Noel/CARE.

Loss and damage fund a key win

From CARE’s perspective, the results of COP27 are decidedly mixed. Only one of our key topics – loss and damage – saw significant progress, and in expressing disappointment in other areas, we must express our gratitude that this topic is now on the global agenda. After a long and hard fight led by vulnerable countries and civil society organizations, not only has loss-and-damage finance made it for the first time on a COP agenda, but developed countries have agreed to the establishment of a much-sought Loss and Damage Fund.

Question marks surround even this good news, with funding details still to be determined, and the fund not launching until next year. That said, this decision demonstrates that the call for climate justice on behalf of vulnerable people has finally been heard and acted upon.

Overall, negotiations at COP27 were hampered by rich countries not living up to their financial obligations.

Our position, before and after the conference, is that the Global North should provide $100 billion a year in new and additional finance for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries, and this has not yet come to pass.

The failure of the Global North to deliver on pre-existing promises has created distrust. COP27 was expected to establish a clear plan for delivery, and to ensure that the shortfall is provided in the coming years. Unfortunately, developed countries got away with deleting those key elements from the texts, leaving us with only a vague call on rich countries to meet the goal, with no deadline set.

Portrait of Somali woman outdoors, with cooking pots.
In Somalia, drought has seen thousands of families being displaced from their homes while more than 700,000 animals have been lost. Photo: Walter Mawere/CARE

What’s next on climate action?

  1. Adaptation. After two weeks of intense negotiations, notable progress was achieved toward framework for the global goal on adaptation, which will be adopted at the next COP in 2023. Unfortunately, no delivery plan was agreed for doubling funding for adaptation by 2025, which had been stipulated last year, in the COP26 Glasgow Pact.
  2. Mitigation. There remains a big gap between the 1.5°C (2.7°F) maximum average temperature-rise goal (by 2030) and the policies that have been adopted to reach it. CARE is disappointed that the mitigation work program fails to call more clearly for the phase-out of all fossil fuels and shift to 100% renewable energies.
  3. Food security and nutrition. Food security and food systems are mentioned once, as COP27 rightly recognized that agriculture follows distinct models in global north and global south. However, no specific actions were agreed, and the framing of the text makes no connection to the key role that women smallholder farmers play in ensuring food security in countries around the world. There is also only vague guidance on how discussions on agriculture and food security will be continued beyond COP27.
  4. Gender justice. Following the lack of action at COP27, we must renew our call for local climate adaptation plans to be inclusive (prioritizing the voices of women), with strong provisions for protection – including gender-based violence protection. We also must reiterate the necessity for governments to act to secure the gender-responsiveness of climate finance, accelerating the integration and mainstreaming of gender in national/regional policies.


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