Climate change is the foremost crisis of the 21st century, with devastating environmental, economic, and social impacts.
It has specific direct and indirect impacts on girls and women and gender-diverse people, affecting the realization of their human rights, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Unequal power relations and historical and structural inequalities have created barriers to gender equality, including limited access to financial and other resources needed to adapt to climate change and maintain good health.
Because SRHR and bodily autonomy are foundational to achieving gender equality, they must be incorporated into human rights-based and gender-responsive climate policies and programs. Limited access to sexual and reproductive health services can increase the vulnerability of girls and women to climate change across their life course, given impacts on maternal health and access to water and sanitation. Realizing SRHR and building climate resilient health systems are cornerstones of climate justice.
Efforts to address climate change must take an intersectional approach because climate change impacts each person differently depending on their race, ethnicity, citizenship status, migrant status, refugee status, class, socioeconomic status, disability, age, geographical location, and sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression (SOGIESC).
At Women Deliver, we saw that feminists were working on SRHR and climate change mostly in parallel and with little overlap. We decided to take action to bridge existing gaps between these two advocacy communities by engaging in discussions with like-minded colleagues to understand the landscape and produce a comprehensive evidence review with the information needed to chart a shared path forward. In July 2021, during the landmark Generation Equality Forum, we served as a catalyzing founder of the SRHR and Climate Justice Coalition, alongside Ipas: Partners for Reproductive Justice and the Women's Environment & Development Organization (WEDO). Today, the Coalition is made up of more than 60 civil society organizations from around the world who are committed to working together to advance climate justice outcomes, especially for girls and women facing intersecting inequalities.
Women Deliver's Engagement
Women Deliver’s 2021-2025 Strategic Framework prioritizes climate action. Recognizing that our strengths and experience are in SRHR advocacy, we focus on championing the interlinkages between climate change, gender equality, and SRHR through high-impact global advocacy work around climate, health, and SRHR. We are actively working to influencing decision-makers, drive collective feminist actions, build and amplify the evidence base, and create impactful communications. Our work in this area continues to grow.
We are driving investments and policy change by:
- Engaging across diverse policy windows, such as the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP), the United Nations High-level Political Forum (HLPF), the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, the World Health Assembly (WHA), and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), to build allies, raise awareness of the interlinkages between climate action and SRHR, influence norm setting, and ensure that SRHR is positioned as integral to climate change adaptation and resilience measures through advocacy with global health and climate leaders.
- Supporting partners to increase action at the nexus of climate change and SRHR outside of global policy moments.
- Shifting the narrative through articles, storytelling, and thought leadership, across multiple platforms, in partnership with marginalized and underrepresented groups, including Indigenous, youth, as well as LGBTQIA+ and grassroots populations.
- Applying the evidence to raise awareness, effect narrative change, influence policy and decision-making at multiple levels, and support partners.
We are strengthening capacity and sharing knowledge by:
- Creating learning spaces for youth advocates and advocates from marginalized groups to share experiences, enhance expertise on climate change and SRHR, build knowledge of relevant policies and guidelines, analyze political contexts, and practice advocacy skills.
- Creating space at the Women Deliver 2023 Conference (WD2023) for diverse partners to share, discuss, and discern data and evidence-based materials; host capacity-building sessions; and engage with new potential members of the SRHR and Climate Justice Coalition and partners in the space.
We are leveraging our role as co-founder and co-convener of the SRHR and Climate Justice Coalition to contribute to collective feminist action to advance SRHR in climate change spaces and vice versa by:
- Ensuring an intersectional and justice lens in all analysis and policy recommendations through collaborative advocacy, as set out in our Generation Equality Forum Commitment to take action on SRHR and climate justice.
- Co-creating advocacy and engagement strategies that capitalize on high-visibility policy windows like CSW66 and the annual COP to demand commitments from governments.
- Facilitating participation and centering voices of frontline and grassroots activists and advocates in global health and climate decision-making spaces, including by involving Coalition members in events.
We are building and using the evidence and investment case by:
- Collecting and analyzing additional data and evidence to build on existing reports.
- Engaging with diverse advocates, including youth, to develop, review, disseminate, amplify, and socialize the evidence base at the nexus of climate action and SRHR, including reports such as The Link Between Climate Change and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: An Evidence Review; factsheets such as Climate Justice and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; and events such as SRHR & Climate Justice: Advancing a Human Rights-Based Approach, as well as the additional resources below.
What's Coming Up
Women Deliver will continue working with and for girls, women, and under-represented communities to center frontline and grassroots voices and expertise to advance SRHR and climate justice on multiple levels and in multiple spaces.
- The Link Between Climate Change and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: An Evidence Review (2021), designed to be used by decision-makers and climate change, humanitarian, and gender equality advocates to better understand the linkages between sectors and align efforts to generate effective policies and programs.
- Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Processes (2021), developed in partnership with the International Institute for Sustainable Development, provides an overview of how SRHR can be integrated into national plans to adapt to climate change.
Factsheets, Infographics, and Issue Briefs:
- Climate Change, Gender Equality and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), developed as part of the SRHR and Climate Justice Coalition in March 2022 in order to equip advocates at the 66th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) with key messages and data linking SRHR and climate change to call for gender-just climate action during negotiations. The factsheet is also available in French and Spanish.
- Climate Justice and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, developed with the Women and Gender Constituency in November 2021 to provide an overview of linkages between climate justice and SRHR, with priority messaging to support advocates at the 26th UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP26).
- Advancing SRHR for Climate Adaptation and Resilience, developed in October 2021 with the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, FP2030, the UNFCCC Gender Secretariat, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and Women to accompany the webinar, "Building Forward Better: Advancing SRHR for Climate Adaptation and Resilience." The infographic is also available in French and Spanish.
Events and Webinars:
- SRHR & Climate Justice: Advancing a Human Rights-Based Approach, co-hosted by the SRHR and Climate Justice Coalition and the Women and Gender Constituency in March 2021 during CSW66 in order to highlight feminist climate solutions in Asia, the crucial role that young people play in driving forward gender-just climate action, and concrete examples of the links between SRHR and climate change.
- Climate Justice and SRHR: the Criticality of Women’s Leadership, co-hosted by the SRHR and Climate Justice Coalition and UNFPA in March 2022 during CSW66 in order to discuss the linkages between climate change, gender equality, and SRHR, and the importance of women’s leadership in these spaces.
- Family Planning in a Climate Crisis: Building Resilience for Women and Girls, hosted by FP2030 in March 2022 around the launch of FP2030's Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) Strategy and the intersections between EPR, SRHR, and climate change adaptation.
- Building Forward Better: Advancing SRHR for Climate Adaptation and Resilience, hosted in October 2021 ahead of COP26 with a diverse group of experts and officials from Member States, UN entities, civil society organizations, and other key stakeholders to raise awareness around the under-discussed yet urgent need to better integrate sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in gender responsive strategies to adapt to climate change.