Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy

Fostering inclusive climate action

Evidence shows that society is more prosperous, peaceful, secure, and united when women’s rights are respected and women are valued and empowered in their communities.

Canada has long been committed to women’s empowerment through its international assistance.

Canada launched its Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) in 2017, positioning Canada as a champion for gender equality in its international assistance programming. The FIAP applies a human rights approach to promoting six interlinked areas for action, including an area on environment and climate action.

Environment and climate action is a pillar of the FIAP. Research has shown that climate change and environmental degradation disproportionately affect women and girls, and that women and girls can be powerful agents of change if given access and control over environmental resources. Since the introduction of the FIAP, Canada has strengthened its work at the nexus of gender and climate action.

Partners have welcomed Canada’s emphasis on gender equality, and have taken Canada’s lead, integrating gender considerations into their climate finance programming. Examples of this are plentiful.

Canada is a member of InsuResilience Global Partnership’s (IGP) High-Level Consultative Group. This group sets the strategic direction for the IGP and provides a global strategic vision for the evolution of the climate and disaster risk finance and insurance agenda. Canada co-chairs the IGP Gender Equality Working Group, aimed at applying a gender lens to climate risk finance and insurance. This contributes to better gender-responsive solutions to protect the lives, livelihoods, and development gains of poor and vulnerable communities, especially for women and other marginalized groups, against weather risks.

In November 2019, through its participation in the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board, Canada helped steer the GCF updated Gender Policy and Action Pan. This updated policy makes gender assessments and gender action plans a requirement at the project level, recognizing the importance of gender considerations in terms of impact and access to climate funding. Canada continues to work with the GCF to strengthen gender work and to advance more inclusive policies.

Also in 2019, Canada announced its intention to work with Convergence, one of the world’s leading conveners and supporters of blended finance for development and an active promoter of gender-sensitive investing.  Canada’s contributions support Convergence’s innovative climate finance initiatives, which all have gender as a core element and deepen investor understanding of gender in climate investment decision-making.

Going Forward

Canada’s climate-related planning, policy-making, and financing will continue to be guided by the FIAP. This policy ensures that Canada’s international development programming protects and promotes the human rights of all the vulnerable and marginalized groups, while also increasing their participation in equal decision-making.

The science on climate change and nature is clear. It is also clear that poor, vulnerable, and marginalized people bear the brunt of climate impacts and biodiversity loss. Canada believes it is essential to support a broad and inclusive representation of women, Indigenous Peoples, and other marginalized groups in international environment-related negotiations to develop strong, diverse, inclusive partnerships and solutions.

Understanding and responding to climate impacts necessitates a feminist lens – putting people first and prioritizing the poorest, most vulnerable and marginalized.

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