By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Sharm El Sheikh

After a week of technical negotiations on the draft climate and gender text, the Pacific co-lead on gender and climate change, Eunice Dus is quietly optimistic of the gains made here in Sharm El Sheikh to push for language that supports simplified access for finance to fund gender action plan (GAP).

The key push from the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) was to urge State Parties to replace ‘enhance’ with ‘simplify’ access to climate finance to grass-roots women’s organisations, as well as indigenous people and local communities, in paragraph 12 of the gender and climate negotiating text.

“By Friday, we had agreed to include ‘simplify’ access to climate finance the gender and climate change text that Pacific Small Island Developing States and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) promoted. It was accepted by the European Union, the United States and others. However, the second paragraph which talks about who funds gender into government policies remains contentious.”

Dus said the G77 group of countries wanted the second part of the paragraph to be a separate text.

After a full week of negotiations including two late nights, the negotiations on Gender and Climate Change remained unresolved, with parties at a deadlock on paragraph 12.

“The second week will need political high-level support to the proposed text on the draft decisions that we pushed through. We are fortunate we have our Pacific Political Champion on Gender and Adaptation, Hon Esa Mona Ainuu here to fight for all of the Pacific.”

We need to continue to amplify the voices of women in the policies and implementation of the action plan and we need financial support and resources to implement any plan, said PNG’s national climate gender focal point Eunice Dus. PNG is the first Pacific state to nominate a focal point,

“I think the negotiations on gender is going very well and it’s very exciting since it’s the first time for me to participate. Also, for PNG, we hope to mainstream gender into our policies, so it’s a good starting point for us. I hope that we will get something positive from this COP, said Dus.

For the first time, Pacific Island Leaders endorsed a gender and adaptation as regional priority; to support technical negotiators and a political champion to elevate the issue at the global leadership level within the COP27 negotiation process.

“The elevation of gender as a regional priority for COP27 was in line with the decision of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) early this year to prioritise gender and climate change as one of its priority areas of work, according to academic Dr George Carter, a research fellow at the Australian National University supporting technical negotiators through the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

Dr Carter said the inclusion of ‘simplified access’ to climate finance to include grassroots women organisations as well as indigenous and local communities ‘builds a door that allows local and indigenous women’s groups to access climate finance.”

Photo: SPREP

It also ensures there is funding for gender action plan and activities for women, who are at the forefront of impact of climate change in many Pacific communities, said Dr Carter.

The more contentious issue in the negotiation text is who will finance gender related costs.

Dr Carter said while the Paris Agreement guarantees that developed countries should be responsible for climate finance, the United States is pushing for shared responsibility to include developing countries that have the capability or are in a position to do so to also provide climate finance.

Determining who pays will be part of the negotiations this week when the high level session convenes.

Pacific SIDS new political champion for gender and adaptation, Niue’s Minister for Natural Resources, Honorable Mona Ai’nuu will lead negotiations for the High Level session this week.

Currently the three options on the table reads; “[Calls for Parties and relevant public and private entities to strengthen the gender responsiveness of climate finance with a view to strengthening the capacity of women and furthering work under the gender action plan in order to enhance access to climate finance for grass-roots women’s organisations as well as for indigenous peoples and local communities.”

“[Invites developed country Parties and United Nations entities to provide financial resources to support developing country Parties in developing and implementing nationally determined gender action plans and programmes, including integrating gender into national climate policies, plans, strategies and action and nationally determined contributions, as appropriate.]”

“[Calls for Parties and relevant public and private entities to strengthen the gender responsiveness of climate finance, with a view I further building the capacity of women and girls for the implementation work under the gender action plan, in order to facilitate simplified access to climate finance for grass-roots women organisations as well as for indigenous peoples and local communities.]”

In 2014 the UNFCCCC Conference of the Parties held in Lima, established the work programme on gender (LWPG) to advance gender balance and integrate gender considerations into the work of Parties and the secretariat in implementing the Convention and the Paris Agreement to achieve gender responsive climate policy and action.

November 14 is Gender Day at COP27, all the ministers, negotiators and civil society have a coordinated campaign to bring the voices of women and girls from the Pacific in all events.