Guide to Strengthening Gender Integration in Climate Finance Projects

Submitted by CDKN Communications Team | published 22nd Jan 2022 | last updated 7th Feb 2022
A group of African women farmers posing in front of a field

Modjadji Women’s Climate Smart Agriculture project, South Africa. © Farai Hove, CHoiCE Trust

Introduction

CDKN and WEDO have launched a new guide entitled, Strengthening gender integration in climate finance projects. The guide presents a framework of recommendations for strengthening gender integration in climate finance projects, with concrete examples and resources to show how it can be done. The guide also shares broader enabling factors and recommendations to inform advocacy and action beyond individual projects, at the climate fund level.

This guide is designed for project teams preparing, designing, implementing and monitoring climate finance projects in developing countries under the four primary multilateral climate funds – the Adaptation Fund (AF), Climate Investment Funds (CIFs), Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Green Climate Fund (GCF) – as well as for those overseeing the approaches of project teams.

This weADAPT article/case study is an abridged version of the original text, which can be downloaded from the right-hand column. Please access the original text for research purposes, full references, and to quote text.
 

In the Guide

Chapter 1 introduces the purpose of the guide and provides a background on what the 4 reviewed multilateral climate funds have done to date on gender integration, and sets out some approaches to engage different types of gender experts.

Chapter 2 provides a simple framework for thinking about direct and powerful complementary opportunities for advancing gender equality. The framework also suggests enabling factors and Fund-level recommendations to enhance the gender responsiveness of climate action: these can inform work at the portfolio level (summarised in Figure 1).

Chapter 3 takes a closer look at gender aspects through a review of five projects selected from the funds. It highlights key examples of how gender can be well-integrated into a project, as well as noting when there are missed opportunities for advancing gender equality outcomes (see 'lessons learned' below).

Chapter 4 compiles lists of resources to support project development, gender integration and further case studies on gender. The guide provides links so readers can examine existing manuals and guidelines for gender mainstreaming and refer to these when developing proposals.

Chapter 5 concludes (see below).

Annexes 1 and 2 provide a list of interviewees and review of projects

Methodology

The guide collates the insights of over 20 stakeholders with gender-related experiences with at least one fund. The vast majority of interviewees have experience across more than one fund and across multiple projects. These interviewees were selected based on their experience with the full cycle of project design and implementation. Among these interviewees were gender staff at each of the climate funds, staff at various regional and international entities who lead project design and implementation (including consulting firms), and individual consultants who have managed the gender work on various projects. 

These semi-structured interviews were designed to uncover interviewees’ knowledge and perspectives, drawing from their individual experiences over the years across what is estimated to be thousands of projects. As narratives and hypotheses offered by interviewees were shared anonymously with subsequent interviewees, where relevant and appropriate, the process created a sense of conversation about these topics. This led to the emergence of grounded and cautious, yet robust, recommendations on how to frame the need to increase and scale-up the integration of gender. 

Desktop evaluations were also conducted for 16 worldwide projects across the four funds. Given this small project sample size no specific trends are emphasised, as these projects cannot inform any larger assessment of the climate funds. Instead, these individual projects – selected to encompass a variety of types, sizes, sectors, geographies and other variables – are used to highlight examples of strong gender integration, alongside missed opportunities, based on the documents reviewed.

A woman speaks into a microphone at a conference
A member of the Women and Gender Constituency participating at COP24. © Annabelle Avril, WECF

 

Lessons Learned: Framework for Strengthening Gender Integration

The guide’s set of recommendations provides a simple framework for thinking about direct and powerful complementary opportunities for advancing gender equality. The recommendations highlight important opportunities within the project cycle for strengthening gender integration. These include:

  • Lead with local gender expertise
  • Leverage local women’s groups and national gender institutions
  • Collect the right gender data from the start
  • Integrate gender specialists within the team
  • Ensure continuity between design and implementation
  • Pursue team-wide capacity-building opportunities

Framework
Fig 1 from the guide: Framework for strengthening gender integration

 

Lessons Learned: A closer look at project examples

PROJECT EXAMPLE 1: A SMALL GRANTS FACILITY FOR ENABLING LPROJECT EXAMPLE 3: LOCAL-LEVEL RESPONSES TO CLIMATE CHANGE (Adaptation Fund)

The lesson: Providing services and activities that may benefit rural women is not synonymous with advancing gender equality. Sex-disaggregated data on beneficiaries should serve as the starting point of exploring different gendered experiences within a project, not the last word.

PROJECT EXAMPLE 2: AN INTEGRATED APPROACH TO PHYSICAL ADAPTATION AND COMMUNITY RESILIENCE IN ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA’S NORTHWEST MCKINNON’S WATERSHED (Adaptation Fund and Global Environmental Facility (co-finance))

The lesson: Looking at who is engaged in governance and decision-making is as valid and significant for advancing gender equality as considering the gender balance of project beneficiaries.

PROJECT EXAMPLE 3: MSME BUSINESS LOAN PROGRAMME IN MONGOLIA FOR GHG EMISSION REDUCTION (Green Climate Fund)

The lesson: Achieving gender balance targets may include working over time to build the capacity or pool of potentially eligible beneficiaries, and not simply ensuring and promoting access to women.

PROJECT EXAMPLE 4: GREEN BRT KARACHI, PAKISTAN (Green Climate Fund)

The lesson: All sectors, including transportation, and all interventions, including mitigation projects, can embed meaningful gender-related activities that improve the experiences of project beneficiaries, while also considering gender dynamics within power structures.

PROJECT EXAMPLE 5: PROMOTION OF CLIMATE-FRIENDLY COOKING, KENYA AND SENEGAL (Green Climate Fund)
The lesson: Focusing on women’s roles and labour as the end goals of a project must be complemented by considering gender equality in the project methodology and processes. 
 

Conclusions: Integrating Gender in Climate Finance Projects

This guide includes examples of how climate projects from different scales and sectors have attempted to advance gender equality, in alignment with the framework above. It uses examples from projects in developing countries across the four major funds. Lessons are drawn from both the presence and absence of key approaches.

These project examples demonstrate the importance of ensuring a human rights-based approach in all climate action, which recognises the agency of women and girls in all their diversity and ensures opportunities for their participation and leadership. Even within projects in sectors where gender considerations are more widely understood (e.g., agricultural resilience projects), it is imperative to create mechanisms for gender analyses and accountability for applying gender-responsive approaches.

The examples also highlight that integrating gender equality concepts and practices into climate finance projects remains a complex and ongoing challenge, requiring adequately tailored approaches and financial and technical resources for each project and its context.