Investing in Women, Tackling Climate Change

 
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Launch of the 2X Gender and Climate Finance Taskforce

The 2X Challenge and Gender Finance Collaborative recently launched the 2X Gender and Climate Finance Taskforce, an initiative powered by EIB, CDC and DEG aimed at leveraging the power of gender-smart investments for climate action in the run-up to COP-26.

The Taskforce will aim to leverage current progress on 2X and climate investments and recognize the role that women play in leading climate action, strengthening the sustainability of infrastructure delivery, and driving adaptation, resilience and mitigation solutions at all levels of the value chain.

The Taskforce will discuss the following themes:

·       How can DFIs invest in climate action through the 2X Challenge? How can we strengthen climate finance by promoting gender equality?

·       How can gender-smart interventions help reach climate outcomes? Why is it important to consider the gender dimension when designing climate products and projects?

·       How can climate infrastructure, financial intermediaries and energy investments tackle gender gaps?

·       What are the key initiatives Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) have been working on so far?

Official Launch Event with Gender, Climate & Investment Professionals

The official launch event sparked significant interest among gender leads, climate specialists and investment professional alike. More than 150 colleagues from across the global DFI and MDB community joined the interactive webinar. The webinar was hosted by Amal-Lee Amin, Director, Climate Change at CDC and Nancy Saich, Chief Climate Change Expert at EIB who offered insightful opening and closing remarks.

Jessica Espinoza, Chair of the 2X Challenge shared key insights into the synergies between the 2X Challenge and climate finance as well as the business and impact case of investing at the nexus of gender and climate-smart opportunities.

Climate adaptation and resilience: Boosting climate resilience efforts through women’s financial inclusion

Oksana Pak, Associate Director, Gender & Economic Inclusion and Eva Bernard, Principal Gender and Green Adviser at EBRD led the session on climate adaptation and resilience. They presented EBRD’s ongoing work under their Green Economic Facility (GEFFs) program where EBRD works with local banks to ensure both men and women have access to green finance, low-carbon technology and entrepreneurship opportunities in green sectors. In partnership with the Green Climate Fund, the gender activities are scaling up in 10 countries, and have already started in Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Morocco and Egypt. EBRD also presented the evolution of GEFFs in Turkey which were co-financed with the other IFIs like EIB & JBIC, and a climate resilient project in Tajikistan (Climadapt) which the gender activities of the GEFFs are building on.

EBRD also shared a brief overview of their work on the gender and climate nexus. Over the past year, EBRD started mainstreaming gender in some of the EBRD’s flagship programs with the support of key partners such as international climate funds. They are launching programs that promote access to green skills and jobs for women in the renewable energy sector, access to green finance and green technologies, gender-responsive design of sustainable infrastructure in green cities.

Climate mitigation: Gender responsive climate mitigation solutions

Applying a gender lens to all type of climate actions is important. This key message was also echoed in the session on climate mitigation led by Yasmine Pagni, Head Social Policy and Moa Westman, Gender Specialist at EIB. Globally, the transport sector is one of the highest emitting sectors that need to see a shift towards low-carbon options. However, transport systems, weather low-carbon or not, are often designed with the travel needs of men rather than women in mind, women do not have equal access to employment opportunities in the sector and the security of women and girls while in or on their way to transport hubs is an issue (more on gender equality in transport here).

India's rapid economic development is placing urban transport under increasing strain and serious environmental challenges. In this context, EIB presented case studies of how it is bringing together climate mitigation and gender equality actions in the Bangalore and Pune metro projects enabling millions of sustainable passenger journeys every year and saving passengers an estimated 29 million hours in travel time.  Time savings that are extra important for women that are juggling both work life and unpaid care work.

To make the Bangalore Metro a more inclusive and diverse workplace and more attractive to women, 33% of the job opportunities were reserved for women who have taken up positions as drivers and station controllers often held by men following dedicated trainings. Crèche facilities are further provided for employee children, women drivers have a separate recreational facility, they are scheduled to work at the stations close to where they live and if not able to perform night shifts, they are being rostered in morning or evening shifts. This is a good example of a climate action mitigation project that also meets the 2X Challenge Employment Criteria promoting women’s quality employment opportunities.

In most metro projects in India including the one’s financed by EIB it is standard to include certain security measures for women travellers such as dedicated coaches for women, night-time patrols of platforms by security personnel, including female security guards, and CCTV coverage, parking and entrance areas. Going beyond this, to improve security but also accessibility, an important project feature of the Pune Metro will be the provision of solar-powered electric vehicles to transport passengers between stops and final destinations. This will make the “last mile” of journeys not only more secure but also more accessible for different people and it is an innovative climate-smart feature that can contribute to enhance women’s mobility. The 2X Challenge Consumption Criteria is all about how we can design investment projects to better respond to the needs of women and help address existing gender gaps.

Just transition: Gender-smart pathways for net-zero economies

This was followed by a final session on the just transition led by Allegra Day, Skills and Leadership Lead, and Elias Habbar-Baylac, Gender Specialist at CDC. CDC highlighted how though a just transition – a transition to sustainable industries that is inclusive of workers and communities – we can ensure resilient economies, as acknowledge in the preamble of the Paris Agreement. With the right tools, the just transition can present opportunities for closing existing and emerging gender gaps and deliver through the 2X Challenge.

Globally, women are leading the way towards more equitable and sustainable solutions to the transition that is required by climate change – as leaders, decision-makers, stakeholders, educators, carers, and experts across sectors and levels. CDC presented the business case for gender balance across green transition sectors to more easily respond to energy transition demands, increase the profitability of these sectors, and shift business models in a positive direction.

One example CDC presented around the just transition agenda is a large upskilling project with CDC equity investee, Ayana Renewable Power, a green energy infrastructure company in India. CDC co-developed a programme to upskill local workers for operational jobs in Ayana’s renewable power plant in Andra Pradesh, offering support on skills-mapping and technical training, digital literacy, and preparation for prospective employees. This programme was developed with a gender lens, to ensure the participation of women, for example by the provision of gender-sensitive facilities (e.g. transport, toilets), which meant women – including 78 graduates – were able to undertake training. CDC also presented a second skills programme with Ayana which will amplify their gender impact.

This was followed by reflections from Ellen Brookes, Climate Specialist, and Marijn Wiersma, Interim Gender Lead at CDC. 

These themes and practical case studies highlighted the synergies between the two development finance priorities of gender and climate that work together to create real impact in 2X Challenge markets. We are looking for opportunities for the 2X Challenge to build on this work and promote gender-smart pathways for climate finance and look forward to engaging with the wider gender and climate smart investing community.

Frank Tobé