From Pledges to Action: advancing gender equality in national climate plans
Opening remarks by Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland
March 24 2022
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
I warmly welcome you to this event on the importance of making national climate plans, our climate commitments, gender-responsive.
Today, we will be hearing about how the nexus between gender equality and climate action can accelerate SDG progress and how, by making national climate plans, the NDCs, gender responsive, we can deliver stronger climate action.
Iceland joined UNDP´s Climate Promise because we firmly believe that the NDCs are a critical pathway to address climate change and we wanted to lend our support to the objective of helping countries translate their NDC ambition into action.
The initiative´s focus on gender-responsive climate action was also critical for us – an impressive 96% of the Climate Promise countries include gender considerations. This is absolutely in line with the key priority we attach to gender equality in our foreign policy.
Regrettably, while important progress has been made globally in making climate action more gender responsive – including under the Climate Promise - we still have a long way to go.
According to IRENA, for example, women comprise only 32% of the renewable energy workforce globally, while we all know the key role that sector has in tackling climate change.
IRENA has also highlighted how women entrepreneurs in the energy field face significantly more difficulties in securing funding – something which is also a challenge in Iceland, even if we measure as the most gender equal society in the world.
And, when it comes to Official Development Assistance, a staggering low of 0,04% of climate-related ODA is dedicated to gender equality as the “principal” objective, according to the OECD-DAC. So, clearly, there is work to be done.
Iceland is firmly committed to significantly increasing its contribution to international climate finance and, in so doing, we are determined to keep a strong gender focus.
Last year, for instance, we took on a role as a Global Champion for Just and Inclusive Energy Transition, and we are one of the founding partners of the Gender and Energy Compact, whose objective is to promote a just, inclusive and gender responsive energy transition.
Overall, we need to recognize that successfully addressing climate challenges and implementing climate actions is about people just as much as it is about infrastructure and financial investments. For that to happen we need to bridge the gender divide, we need more women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and we need to be inclusive all the way.
In this context, I would like to highlight the important work being done by the Generation Equality Forum under the leadership of UN Women – a broad based coalition focused on accelerating progress on gender equality, including in the area of climate.
In conclusion – the issues for discussion today are incredibly important for effective and ambitious climate action. I thank UNDP for bringing us here together and wish you a fruitful discussion.