This two page briefing paper documents how, as awareness of climate change has grown, so too has the gendered dimensions of its effects on people. It provides an overview of concepts and practical guidelines for implementing gender sensitive responses to climate change in the context of the livelihoods approach.
The FAO has developed and tested a livelihoods-based approach to climate change adaptation processes. This recognises the need for people’s immediate livelihood priorities to be met and the importance of incorporating local knowledge and traditional practices in science-based climate prediction information. This is grounded in the recognition that:
- in the long term, mitigation is essential to reducing the trends created by climate change;
- in the near future, adaptation to its effects is seen as a pragmatic way of reducing the vulnerability and improving; the adaptive capability of people whose livelihoods are dependent on resources affected by climate change.
The authors note that adaptation will need to be intensified and targeted in order to ensure the security and development of vulnerable populations, for example, the 1.4 billion rural people who depend on rural small-scale and resource poor farming in developing countries. The detrimental effects of climate change on agriculture in conjunction with the high vulnerability of the rural poor to shocks could spell disaster, and severely affect their livelihoods, food security and well-being.
Research shows that these shocks affect women differently from men and interventions to protect livelihoods from external shocks are more effective when a gender dimension is taken into account.
In order to move forward with gender sensitised policy making on this issue, more locally-based research is needed on climate change in conjunction with gender. This research should seek to explore fundamental questions regarding the effects of different kinds of climate change, for example flooding as opposed to drought, and how these affect women differently from men in each case.