Quick Analysis

Some key observations in relation to new and updated NDCs in 2021

When the 18 first new and updated NDCs were analyzed in December 2020 (see below), the prevalence of references to gender and/or women suggested improvement over the first INDCs/NDCs submitted and analyzed in 2016. The latest analyses featured on this site, including each NDC submitted through April 2021, support that continued trend: the majority of the 40+ new and updated NDCs reference women and/or gender, and several developing countries are recognizing the importance of this inclusion in their NDCs.

  • Setting Expectations: This trend of increasing Party recognition of the role that gender equality plays is supported by the specific prompts in the “information to facilitate clarity, transparency and understanding” outlined by COP24, which several Parties included as an annex. Advocacy work such as that led by the Women and Gender Constituency to ensure the outline in Decision 4/CMA.1 of planning information that could be mentioned--"Domestic institutional arrangements, public participation and engagement with local communities and indigenous peoples, in a gender-responsive manner”—included gender, should be credited with creating the expectation that gender-responsiveness is important. Several countries only mentioned their commitments to gender equality and gender-responsive processes in response to this prompt, and though not as robust as some NDCs’ more cross-cutting integration across sectors, such codification is valuable and can provide a foothold for stronger attention in future.
  • Process Matters: Indeed, the detailing of participatory processes was much less reported in the original INDCs/NDCs than in these new and updated NDCs. Again, a majority of the new/updated NDCs through April describe how they were designed with input from stakeholders such as youth, Indigenous People, and civil society. Gender-justice can only be achieved if there are opportunities for meaningful participation for women and girls in their full diversity, and if the NDC can be shaped to serve communities’ needs. Though whether the processes outlined by the NDCs were adequate is something for in-country advocates to comment on (and published analyses can be submitted through the GCT Resource Form), the aspiration and intent to demonstrate inclusivity and input is a positive trend.
  • Climate Action: Likewise, these new/updated NDCs were more robust in providing details of their implementation and monitoring mechanisms, referencing plans of action such as legislative frameworks, institutional plans and strategies. These details were present in about half of these same Parties’ NDCs in 2016, and now over three-quarters have detailed how they will implement and/or monitor the progress outlined in their NDCs. These details are vital to ensure promises aren’t empty and enable advocates to better hold their governments accountable for substantive work toward gender justice.
  • Gender Equality: The way that Parties integrated their gender references continued to vary from the brief to the substantive, but in comparison to 2016, there was a greater likelihood of these statements generally indicating gender-sensitivity. Whether supporting gender equality as a principle (and pointing to legislative, for example, ensuring women’s rights), or making a commitment to gender-responsiveness in the design of policies, programmes, and practices, these more principled mentions tended to blur the distinctions between adaptation and mitigation that were more illustrative during the first round of NDCs, where the most likely gender or woman reference was in terms of adaptation.

Some key observations in relation to new and updated NDCs in 2020

(See Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Updated and New Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for more information.)

  • 7 of the 14 updated NDCs analyzed include a reference to women or gender. Of these, several integrate gender across topics and use it as cross-cutting approach to climate planning and action, while others' references are less substantive.
  • 4 of the 4 new NDCs, the second for their respective Parties, include a reference to women or gender. While the scope of this inclusion varies, some examples, led by the Marshall Islands (the first Party to submit their second NDC), are robust in their integration of gender.
  • Norway is the only Annex I country thus far to include a reference to women or gender, which is already an improvement over the Annex I showing in 2016, where no Annex I Parties included such a reference.
  • Several Parties who did not reference women or gender in 2016 did so with these NDCs, some in ways that were quite substantive. 

Some key observations in relation to submitted NDCs in 2016:

  • In total, 64 of the 190 NDCs analyzed include a reference to women or gender. Of these, several only mention gender in the context of the country’s broader sustainable development strategy and not specifically in relation to climate change policies (e.g. India).
  • All 64 countries are non-Annex I countries. This is significant for a number of reasons. First, it highlights that gender is rarely perceived as a relevant consideration in the context of mitigation strategies (which are the overwhelming focus of Annex I countries). Second, given that the vast majority of commitments in NDCs from non-Annex I countries are conditional, it underlines the vulnerability of the existing commitments to women’s rights and gender equality in the context of national climate change policies.
  • The context in which women or gender are mentioned is most commonly in relation to adaptation (27 countries). This is followed by mitigation (12 countries), implementation of commitments (9 countries), and capacity-building (5 countries). However, about a third of the countries refer to women or gender in a way that is cross-cutting or mainstreamed across one or more relevant sectors (22 countries).
  • Of those 64 countries, the most common way in which the position or role of women is characterized is as a vulnerable group (WVG). 34 NDCs refer to women in this way.
  • Women are characterized as beneficiaries of policies or projects in 21 INDCs, roughly half of which concern adaptation and the other half of which concern mitigation. A common way in which a transition to clean energy is viewed as benefiting women is through the health benefits of cleaner cooking fuel or the reduction in unpaid care work.
  • 15 NDCs refer to the role of women as important decision-makers or stakeholders in the context of climate change policy-making, and only 6 NDCs refer to women as agents or drivers of change.
  • There is almost a complete absence of gender-responsive budgeting in the NDCs. Ghana’s NDC quantifies the cost of the policy underlying its program to increase the resilience of women to climate change, and Jordan’s INDC commits to ensuring that financing mechanisms for mitigation and adaptation address the needs and conditions for implementation in relation to poor women.
  • Of the NDCs referring to gender, 34 suggest that the process for developing the NDC was participatory.
  • 18 NDCs in total include a reference to human rights. Of these, 4 mention human rights but not gender or women.
  • Only Liberia and Peru identify legislation that has specifically been developed to address the intersection of climate change and gender. The Peruvian legislation is still being developed.

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