Issue Linkage in the Climate Regime: Gender Policies in Climate Finance

Recommended Citation:

Chan, Gabriel, Lindsey Forsberg, Peder Garnaas-Halvorson, Samantha Holte, and DaSeul Kim. September 2018. Issue Linkage in the Climate Regime: Gender Policies in Climate Finance. Report of the Center for Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy, University of Minnesota.


Multiple international agreements, such as the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, express the norms of respecting and promoting the human rights of women and men and advancing gender equality. Studies show that climate change has disproportionate impacts on women due to socioeconomic status, restrictive gender norms, and lack of access to resources and services, but also that including women as stakeholders in planning and implementation leads to improved project outcomes. These finding highlight the need for specific and direct mechanisms for empowering women to enhance their position and efficiently support climate change mitigation and adaptation. Most major climate funds have adopted gender policies over the last decade in the interest of increasing gender equality. These funds control billions of dollars of bilateral and multilateral finance intended to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change, which gives them a unique position in translating gender policies into action. However, the gender policies of climate funds have been developed relatively recently, and it is unclear the extent to which they have been successful in advancing gender equality and enhancing the effectiveness of climate finance for mitigation and adaptation.

Here we explore the history of gender mainstreaming in international development policy to ground the discussion of current gender mainstreaming efforts in climate finance. We then critically examine the linkage of gender and climate itself to understand why gender mainstreaming is occurring in this field and to what extent the linkage of gender to climate is appropriate and/or useful. We provide a high-level comparison of existing multilateral and bilateral gender policies, and end with open questions and key takeaways as climate funds move from policy to implementation. Although our focus is primarily on the issue linkage of gender equality and climate change, gender is only one of dozens of fields being linked to climate, and therefore the conclusions are framed around both issue linkage broadly and the gender-climate linkage specifically.


gender policy, climate change, regime complex, issue linkage


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