Today is Gender, Scientific and Innovation day at COP26.  

Scientific evidence has always underpinned the international climate negotiations and whether it's new forms of sustainable energy, new methods of transport, or affordable zero-carbon packaging solutions, innovative thinking will be required to solve the climate crisis.  But what about Gender?

A statement calling for the role of women and girls to be advanced in addressing climate change was launched last week at COP26, jointly sponsored by the Scottish Government and UN Women.  It recognises that women and girls are often disproportionately affected by climate change and face greater risks from its impacts, particularly in situations of poverty.  It follows a Gender Action Plan agreed at COP25 to advance the rights and interests of women and girls in the UNFCCC process and in supporting gender-responsive climate policy and programming.  The statement remains open for signatures until the 66th meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women, held in March 2022 with a focus on women’s empowerment in the context of climate change, the environment and disaster risk reduction.  

Innovation doesn’t always have to involve big technological solutions and lessons need to be learned from the world's response to COVID-19, that world leaders must heed the advice of their scientists and on a globally consistent standard. However, I believe that diversity of thinking is key.

The push for gender equality is bringing different perspectives, driving the integration of gender-related considerations into climate policy and ensuring broad representation.  However, it isn't just gender equality that is important, the participation of all types of individuals will bring diverse views on climate change into the discussion which can open up debate and only help fix this crisis.

Decisions supported by science, debated by diverse groups of people and enacted through innovation will give the world the best chance of solving the climate crisis. Positive indications are coming out of COP26 that these themes are indeed truly valued if we are to have any hope.

Author - Beth Rudge