Gender-Responsive Climate Change Mitigation in Asia and Beyond:
Creating a Marketplace for Change Agents, Policy Makers and Funders

Sponsored by the Asian Development Bank and the Nordic Development Fund

Hanoi, Viet Nam, 19-20 December 2016

Opening session

Linda Adams, ADB Project Manager for RETA7914, set the scene, introducing the project and the thinking behind its development. Working at three levels in each country, the project objectives were to (1) build institutional capacity for integrated approaches to addressing climate change mitigation and gender mainstreaming; (2) work with relevant agencies to begin to embed gender-responsiveness in climate change mitigation responses; and (3) to implement a demonstration gender-responsive climate change mitigation project. These objectives have been achieved via different pathways with different kinds of agencies in each country, and thereby provide a range of learnings that can be explored at this workshop for potentially leveraging improved capacity, scaling up, looking at new gender responsive projects.

Eric Sidgwick, ADB Viet Nam Country Director, gave the opening address, thanking NDF for their support for the project, and the international speakers for making themselves available to participate in the workshop. He acknowledged the work of IGES and SNV as project implementers, and thanked the project partners in each of the three countries, recognizing their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and their commitment to addressing the causes with gender-inclusive responses.

Martina Jagerhorn, NDF Country Program Manager, outlined NDF priorities in supporting development projects in the region, and in particular this RETA.

Richard McNally, SNV Global Coordinator Climate Change, highlighted how SNV’s value chain approach shapes its commitment to supporting gender-responsive climate change mitigation initiatives in the future.

Thought Leaders: Call to Action

The five thought leaders below responded to questions regarding the ways that international climate landscape is becoming more gender-responsive and how national and local governments can capitalize on these changes.

  • Fleur Newman, UNFCCC, Gender Focal Point
  • Jiwoo Choi, GCF, Head of Private Sector Facility
  • Anne Kuriakose, World Bank and MDB CIF, Senior Social Development Specialist
  • Lorena Aguilar, IUCN, Global Senior Gender Advisor
  • Bridget Burns, WEDO, Co-Director

The following bullets summarize some of the key points made during this discussion.

  • There is relatively little attention paid to the structural integration of gender and social inclusion in the implementation strategies and priorities to tackle climate change in developed countries. In contrast, the proposals being put forward by developing countries, including the 2015 Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), demonstrate an increasing level of attention to gender responsiveness.
  • With the growth in the number of INDCs referencing gender, there has also been an increase in the demands for support for gender mainstreaming into mitigation actions.
  • While there is still a view of women as passive victims who are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, there is an increasing understanding of the active roles that women can play in addressing the causes of climate change. When women have equal opportunity to access information and have their voices heard, they can contribute to solutions by participating in consultation and influencing decision-making.
  • In this way, women’s roles can evolve beyond the traditional norms that tend to be limiting as they are empowered to share their knowledge, skills and experiences to help map truly inclusive pathways for the future.
  • One of the key challenges regarding the integration of women’s concerns and capacities into planning for climate change mitigation actions is the perception that mitigation requires technical solutions rather than political and social solutions. The disregard of social and political imperatives means that gender specialists often play only peripheral roles in the development of climate change mitigation interventions, whereas women’s skills and concerns should be central to developing such interventions.
  • While the governments of all three countries involved in the RETA have robust policies for gender inclusion, they recognize that there are still limitations in the ways in which these policies are translated into strategies, plans and actions.

Responding to the Call: Three Countries, Three Solutions

Ana Rojas, IUCN/SNV led a panel discussion with government representatives about the challenges faced and progress made in the three countries during the RETA.

  • H.E. Hor Malin, Cambodia, MAFF, GCWG
  • Mr. SyAmphone Sengchandala, Lao PDR, MONRE, DDMCC
  • Ms. Mai Thi Nhan, Viet Nam, Dong Hoi Women’s Union

H.E. Hor Malin, emphasized the importance of designing a holistic process for mainstreaming gender within MAFF. Increasing GWCG’s knowledge on climate change and gender mainstreaming in combination with the review of MAFF’s gender action plan allowed them to have a better understanding of their own priorities as well as the tools to disseminate the implications of the new plan internally. Training to province and district level staff hence provided information about climate change and the use of gender tools that could support implementation work. Linking these efforts to renewable energy pilot projects has made the topic more accessible to MAFF staff.

Mr. SyAmphone spoke at length about how support through this RETA allowed DDMCC to increase its internal capacity to understand the gender and climate change linkages, as well as identify manners in which to include gender considerations in their portfolio. Moreover, this sensitization lead to the recognition that the Technical Working Group on Climate Change (TWGCC) would gain much by including a government counterpart with gender expertise. The inclusion of the Lao Women’s Union as a permanent member of the TWG is expected to ensure gender considerations will have a stronger recognition in future policy and project implementation.

Ms. Nhan focused on the rolling out of a gender-responsive biogas pilot project in Dong Hoi. Her comments related to the way in which the traditional biogas training modules were revised to ensure women and men could participate on equal footing and reflected on the changes reported by women biogas masons, mainly how their confidence and stature has increased. In addition, lessons learned on the management of a revolving fund by Dong Hoi’s Women’s Union (DHWU) were also shared with the audience.

Interventions from panellists were followed by reflections from the implementing agencies, as to how their participation in this RETA has influenced their current work. Eric Zusman from IGES commented that this ADB project has allowed IGES to begin addressing gender in its own portfolio, particularly the provision of support around the SDGs. Katrina Hergstrom from SNV commented on the opportunities the organization has had to support its partners in the development of new projects and ideas which now incorporate a climate change mitigation and a gender component.

Members from the audience also reflected on how some of the lessons shared might be taken into account in their own work. For example, Dagmar Zwebe from GGGI mentioned that their renewable energy portfolio was under development and that the work she is overseeing in Indonesia will take many of the lessons learned under this RETA into consideration during the implementation phase.

Marketplace for Gender-Responsive Climate Change Mitigation

The initial marketplace sessions enabled ten different organisations to showcase their work and explain their roles in gender and climate change policy, capacity building, project development and financing.

In the final marketplace session, more specific opportunities for sharing and scaling up were explored. Below are some of the highlights from the marketplace sessions.

  • The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) is relatively new organization promoting the green growth agenda in 26 countries, with a GGGI office scheduled to open in Lao PDR during January 2017. In Vietnam, Dong Hoi city authorities expressed interest in the waste management project in Ben Tre. This information will be provided by GGGI Vietnam office. In Cambodia, an introduction for GCWG has already been facilitated with the GGGI representative office to explore avenues of support for further capacity building and concept note development. In Laos, several opportunities for collaboration were identified, and MONRE-DDMCC has requested an introduction to the new GGGI office as soon as practicable after its establishment in January 2017.
  • The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the largest and oldest environmental NGO worldwide. For more than 30 years IUCN has also championed gender equality in its environmental work. Gender concerns are led through the Global Gender Office (GGO), where analysis and recommendations derive from inputs from social groups including communities’ ‘local wisdom’ as a means to understanding the differentiated needs and resources available to women and men. A key initiative of IUCN is the supported development of ccGAPs (Climate Change Gender Action Plans). IUCN is now discussing the possibility of using funding from the ADB project to support the development of ccGAP in Cambodia and Lao. In Cambodia, the GCWG will also communicate with the UN Women country office re the possibility to propose scale-up of their proposed bio-digester project.
  • There is a need to provide basic information about complex workings of UNFCCC and how its mechanisms could be better understood at country level. Within UNFCCC it is still challenging to achieve recognition of the value of gender integration and gender-inclusive policy, and at times it is a struggle to ensure gender concerns have a permanent place in the discourse. However, technical documents and tools are in place to ensure the gender agenda has a secure place in decision making processes. A UNFCCC website provides a repository for valuable information, education and communication (IEC) materials as well as focal points etc. on gender issues.
  • Heinrich Böll Stiftung is a German non-profit political foundation affiliated with the German Green Party. This organization has supported the design of the GCF since 2011, and continues to be involved with fund monitoring as an active civil society observer on the GCF Board. Heinrich Böll works with governments, UN agencies and multilateral climate funds on gender and climate finance.
  • 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) is a network of cities that promotes new ideas that help cities more resilient to big economic, social, and environmental changes including climate change. 100RC works with companies and research institutions to provide knowledge and services to cities. 100RC shared the organizations approach to build resilience and summarized successes and lessons learned to date in region.
  • Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO) is one of the most influential international NGOs working on gender and climate, along with IUCN and Heinrich Böll. WEDO works on range of cross-cutting issues on women, environment, and development and makes recommendations to help implementing projects that integrate gender equality into the decisions and outcome of the UNFCCC.
  • The African Development Bank (AfDB) includes gender considerations in all feasibility assessments, using the CEFA toolbox which is endorsed by the African regional community ECOWAS. This toolbox offers guidelines on CC-gender integration, social safeguards in stakeholder consultation processes, gender benefit/risk assessments, and case studies demonstrating how communities benefit from project–generated income opportunities. AfDB has addressed gender and climate change in its infrastructure portfolio, including geothermal generation and road construction. AfDB supports complementary educational initiatives including CC ecological initiatives; STEM promotion; mentorship through Asian universities; and vocational training. Both UN Women and IUCN expressed desire to further discuss ways for collaborating with AfDB.
  • The Climate Investment Funds (CIF), as one of the MDBs funding channels, have 8bn USD available, and have only recently included gender among criteria for the investment loan and grant portfolio. It offers such a broad range of interventions and activities that standardized monitoring frameworks, assessment of cost effectiveness and leveraging of private sector funds have not yet been established. However, these are recognized as essential, and the intention to articulate the role for gender interventions is clear. Gender responsive M&E is being strengthened to assess results including gender impacts, not just outputs and processes, with analysis of institutional change to assess effectiveness of approaches for gender-inclusion. Specific gender-related clauses in agreements and contracts are now being encouraged. A CIF-funded forestry project is currently underway in Lao, and gender inclusion has been highlighted. In Vietnam CIF supports the investment in Ho Chi Minh City’s urban mass rapid transport system under the Clean Technology Fund. In Cambodia, an Investment Plan (IP) was recently approved by CIF board and contains several solar and biomass initiatives. SNV, which has been in collaboration with CIF/ADB re SREP, will seek an implementation role for selected activities and explore ongoing engagement with MAFF-GCWG. Training for CIF proposal preparation will be held in Myanmar 5-8 February 2017.
  • With 5 billion dollars in funding available, the GCF is relatively new entity is still defining its role but is already one of the biggest global players for financing climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives. It is recognized that at present the GCF is not well represented in SE Asia, so there is no good project pipeline. This will be taken up to be addressed with GCF management. GCF NDAs can seek readiness funding for capacity development and screening services to support NAMA preparedness facility. Gender and social inclusion is an important aspect of the GCF assessment process, so support for this should be part of readiness proposals. A gender action plan which demonstrates commitment to gender responsiveness is a critical aspect of the proposal screening process at the board level. NAPA and NAMA development has been pursued in both Cambodia and Lao PDR, but the processes have been very slow. In Lao PDR, DDMCC has expressed interest in accessing the readiness facility, and the status of the national application will be investigated. The NDA for the GCF was the leader of the Lao PDR delegation. In Cambodia, as the RETA partner is not within the ministry of the NDA, there has been limited communication and information dissemination, so a possible avenue for exploration may be via an accredited third party intermediary. The GCF may provide a viable opportunity for developing the MAFF-GCWC solar water pumping proposal further to seek GCF funding, with support from the SNV solar market development program and the proposed market survey under the RETA.
  • NDF advised of an upcoming call for proposals in mid-2017, and it is possible that the Cambodia ACCS pilot project may provide a model for scaling up, especially given its innovative financing structures.

Country wrap-ups

The Cambodia MAFF-GCWG delegation now has a number of avenues through which to pursue support for the two draft concept notes that they have developed under the RETA. In addition, they plan to explore opportunities for strengthening women’s voices in climate change mitigation initiatives through the inter-ministerial GCWG network.

A post-workshop follow-up meeting was convened in January 2017 to provide an opportunity for key representatives from the government partner agency to provide feedback and comments following reflections on their experiences and learnings at the workshops, particularly in relation to the Regional Workshop in Hanoi; and their priorities going forward regarding possible follow-up actions.

It was agreed that the workshop was very interesting for the GCWG representatives, providing a unique opportunity to meet many international experts, to share lessons learnt, and especially a good opportunity to meet funding organisations and begin to understand their criteria and focus areas. It provided a valuable opportunity for Cambodia to highlight the integration of climate change mitigation concerns in its Gender Mainstreaming Policy and Strategic Framework, demonstrating that it is ahead of the curve in this respect. In addition, involvement with the pilot projects in the field provided evidence of capacity in practical application. While GCWG recognises that they are still at an early stage in developing gender-inclusive climate change responses, they very much value their progress in embedding this issue at a policy level.

The GCWG representatives are very keen to see effective follow-up as a great deal of expectation was generated regarding possibilities for accessing funding and they recognise that it is a long road from initial concept to secured funding. They also recognise the need to promote their capabilities and vision, and to share their expertise and experience more broadly within MAFF, and especially with the Climate Change Working Group.

A key learning was the recognition of the importance of linkages with other ministries, especially the Ministry of Environment (MoE), and there is a plan to follow up with MoE following discussions at the regional workshop to see if closer collaboration is possible. The link with MoE as the National Designated Authority (NDA) will be crucial in accessing relevant climate financing, while the National Council for Sustainable Development may provide an entry point as this is an inter-ministerial body designed to facilitate collaboration.

The workshop provided opportunities to interact with and find out about other players in the Cambodia climate change and gender space, and the intention is to maintain and expand these contacts. In particular a new MAFF technical working group tasked with developing policies and strategies in response to climate change is in the formative stages, and with membership to include GCWG members, should enable more direct access to key ministerial decision makers

GCWG is keen to pursue possible financing of a solar drip irrigation intervention, as well as a new suggestion relating to the management of rice straw and rice husk as an energy source]. Their focus is on new proposals to respond to climate change where women can be involved, to demonstrate that women can be important contributors in the fight against climate change, while also gaining social and economic benefits from appropriate interventions. SNV’s interest in the development of a renewable biomass fuel sector that would use agricultural residues such as rice husk to develop fuel products for biomass cookstoves could align here to further explore with a focus on women at all stages of the value chain.

The GCWG is familiar with the large ADB $120m ‘Agri-business Value Chain’ project and would be very keen to play a role in shepherding a gender component. However, the GCWG has not yet been able to find a pathway to contribute to this. They see enormous potential value in having the opportunity to lead the integration of gender in a large project as it would represent a breakthrough, and provide a precedent to advocate for gender inclusion in future projects. Recognising that it takes time and repeated experiences for the importance of gender inclusion to be widely understood, GCWG is actively seeking opportunities to demonstrate the value of their potential inputs.

It appears that at sub-national level the value of gender integration is sometimes better understood and accepted, perhaps because people are closer to on-the-ground impacts experienced within their local communities, compared with national level where impacts are more difficult to recognise. This disparity may need to be addressed through additional attention to internal education and dissemination, so GCWG would like to pursue both financial support and ministerial advocacy to influence the implementation of their policy.

GCWG would very much like to be involved in a situation where the design of the RETA could be replicated and scaled up to develop more project concepts that would demonstrate the practical application of gender and climate change mitigation interventions and approaches. This could help overcome the remaining observed internal barriers and showcase the benefits in order to gain more support and perhaps traction for their approach.

In Lao PDR, national gender-inclusive policies and the development and implementation of gender-responsive climate change mitigation projects which involve women as active agents of change are a priority, and will be supported with collaboration across the TWGCC. In addition, climate finance is a potentially sustainable outcome of the RETA pilot project that will support gender-focussed climate change mitigation initiatives into the future.

At a follow-up meeting with DDMCC, the key representatives again expressed their appreciation for the opportunities provided at the workshop to gain a better understanding of the climate change funding landscape, and to meet some of the key players in this arena.

As they now have a better appreciation of the requirements going forward, in particular regarding the importance of developing gender-responsive climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives, they are keen to seek ongoing support for this. They reiterated their need for further capacity building in the relevant technical areas, as well as funding for regular meetings of the TWGCC so that it can maximise its effectiveness as the key national coordinating body for effectively responding to climate change. Because there is a relatively small number of people who have primary responsibility for a range of programs and funding mechanisms, there is always a need to manage conflicting priorities. Hence support from development partners, is much sought after and highly valued.

Regarding the GCF, Lao PDR has established a relationship with UNDP to pursue its funding aspirations, both for readiness funding and project funding, but while progress is ongoing, it has been relatively slow to date. It may also be helpful to explore the possibility of seeking ongoing support from UNDP to enable the TWGCC to build its capacity as a gender-inclusive coordinating body, as well as to further develop the draft concept notes.

In addition, DDMCC is interested to learn more about the IUCN-ccGAPs proposal which has been briefly discussed with them.

The Vietnam delegation from Dong Hoi city authority expressed interest in finding out how a sub-national entity can access the kinds of funds discussed in the marketplace. However, as climate finance mechanisms mostly work through national government agencies such as MONRE, MOIT etc. they would need to pursue their objectives through the national focal points.

Follow up with national ministries via the appropriate formal channels will therefore be essential to move cooperation forward and gain access to additional finance.


Women play vital roles in mitigating greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. But climate funding mechanisms have only recognized these valuable contributions recently. The decision to take “a gender-responsive approach” to the governing instrument of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) reflected this recognition. Other funding mechanisms, including the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and Climate Investment Funds (CIFs), have taken similarly welcome steps of late.

The increasing references to gender equity and women’s empowerment in the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) pledged to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are another set of comparably motivated national level developments. These advances offer an opportunity to fully unlock the potential of women to contribute to climate change mitigation and thereby benefit from climate finance.

To harness this potential in Viet Nam, Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) has financed an Asian Development Bank (ADB) regional technical assistance project (RETA 7914). Starting in 2013, the project employed a unique partnership model that engaged women as agents of change in more inclusive institutions, policies, and projects.


Over the past three years, project participants have learned much worth sharing from this multi-level, multi-stakeholder model. They have also recognized that there is growing opportunity to serve as a platform for others to identify, advance, and scale up gender-responsive mitigation actions and funding. The objectives of this workshop therefore are as follows:

  • To determine how the lessons learned and tools developed from RETA 7914 can help expand ongoing work and inspire new gender-responsive mitigation actions
  • To create a “marketplace” where stakeholders dedicated to gender and mitigation can showcase their initiatives from around the world and identify opportunities to collaborate
  • To secure financial support to advance the work of showcased initiatives in and beyond Asia.

The Agenda

Day 1 - Monday, 19 December 2016
8:00 - 8:30 Registration (F7 Thang Long)
Opening Session
8:30 – 9:00 Welcome Remarks Linda Adams, ADB Project Manager
Opening Remarks Eric Sidgwick, ADB, Viet Nam Country Director
Martina Jagerhorn, NDF Country Program Manager
Richard McNally, SNV Global Coordinator Climate Change
Session 1 Thought Leaders Call to Action: The Why and How of Gender-Responsive Mitigation
9:00 – 10:20

Experts provide remarks on how their organizations and workshop participants can mainstream gender into climate mitigation activities.

10:20 – 10:40 Group Photo & Break
Session 2 Responding to the Call: Three Countries, Three Solutions (F7 Thang Long)
10:40 - 12:00

Ana Rojas, IUCN/SNV conducts interviews in Davos style with government representative about the progress and challenges identifying solutions in three countries

Government representatives respond to initial interview questions

  • H.E. Hor Malin, Cambodia, MAFF, GCWG
  • Syamphone Sengchadala, Lao PDR, MONRE, DDMCC
  • Mai Thi Nhan, Viet Nam, Dong Hoi Women’s Union

Experts reflect on the responses with comments

  • Representative from IGES
  • Representative from SNV
  • Representative from other organizations provide comments to preview the approaches featured in the marketplace (Session 3)
12:00 – 13:30 Lunch (Ground Floor El Patio)
Session 3 Marketplace Showcase for Gender-Responsive Mitigation Round I (Start in F7 Thang Long and Move to F2)
13:30 – 15:50

Part one of the marketplace is informational. Breakout rooms are set up where individual actors, experts and groups can discuss and share their projects and accomplishments for women’s engagement in climate mitigation work around the world. Every thirty minutes, participants can shift to another room to learn about the work of a different project or group of actors. The goal will be for potential collaborators and partners to learn about each other’s work promoting women’s engagement in climate mitigation activities and policies.

  • Room 3: Enabling subnational action and cooperation – 100 RC
  • Room 4: Promoting national action – GGGI
  • Room 6: Promoting national dialogue/advocacy – WEDO
  • Room 7: Mapping national country commitments/partnerships – IUCN
15:50 – 16:00 Break
Session 4 Marketplace Showcase for Gender-Responsive Mitigation Round II (F2)
16:00 – 17:30

Part one/round two of the marketplace is again informational. Breakout rooms are set up where individual actors, experts and groups can discuss and share their projects and accomplishments for women’s engagement in climate mitigation work around the world. Every thirty minutes, participants can shift to another room to learn about the work of a different project or group of actors. The goal will be for potential collaborators and partners to learn about each other’s work promoting women’s engagement in climate mitigation activities and policies.

The goal will be for potential collaborators and partners to learn about each other’s work promoting women’s engagement in climate mitigation activities and policies.

  • Room 3: Building gender-responsive partnerships -- UN Women
  • Room 4: Supporting gender responsive approaches -- UNFCCC
  • Room 6: Understanding the climate finance architecture -- Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America
18:00 Cocktail Reception (F1 Function Room)
Day 2 – Tuesday, 20 December 2016
Review of First Day
8:45 - 9:00
(F7 Thang Lang)
Eric Zusman, IGES
Keynote speech
9:00 – 9:40

Liane Schalatek, Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America, Strengthening the Interface between Climate and Gender at the National and International Levels
Speaker Notes (PDF File 453Kb)

Session 5 Marketplace Showcase for Gender-Responsive Mitigation Round III (F2)
9:40 – 11:10

Part one/round three of the marketplace is again informational. Breakout rooms are set up where individual actors, experts and groups can discuss and share their projects and accomplishments for women’s engagement in climate mitigation work around the world. Every thirty minutes, participants can shift to another room to learn about the work of a different project or group of actors. The goal will be for potential collaborators and partners to learn about each other’s work promoting women’s engagement in climate mitigation activities and policies.

  • Room 3: Working with MDBs within and across Regions -- AfDB
  • Room 4: Preparing Climate Finance Proposals -- World Bank and MDB CIF
  • Room 6: Preparing Climate Finance Proposals – GCF
Session 6 Marketplace Matchmaking for Gender-Responsive Mitigation (F7 Thang Long)
11:10 – 12:00

Part two of the marketplace allows participants to meet up with other actors and explore potential opportunities for collaboration. A separate area in the back of the plenary will be set up with tables and white boards where participants can informally identify ways in which they might work together to initiate, strengthen, and scale up gender mainstreaming of climate mitigation activities.

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch (Ground Floor El Patio)
Session 6 (cont). Marketplace Matchmaking for Gender-Responsive Mitigation (F7 Thang Long)
13:00 – 14:30

Part two of the marketplace (cont.) allows participants to meet up with other actors and explore potential opportunities for collaboration. A separate area in the back of the plenary will be set up will be set up with tables and white boards where participants can informally identify ways in which they might work together to initiate, strengthen, and scale up gender mainstreaming of climate mitigation activities.

14:30 - 14:50 Coffee break
Session 7 Marketplace Results: Sharing and Spreading and Scaling Up (F7 Thang Long)
14:50 – 15:50

Part three of the marketplace is for the collaborative groups or individuals to share their intentions for further collaboration with the whole workshop. A representative from each new collaborative group as well as governments and development partners will have up to 5 minutes to share their intentions for working together. These results will be reported in the meeting outcome paper and shared widely through the Environmental Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) and other relevant channels.

Closing session
15:50 – 16:00
Closing Remarks and Way Forward