Zainab Bibi , widow, a mother of three from

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					               Briefing Paper: Pakistan – Climate Change and the Gender Implications1

Zainab Bibi2, a widow, mother of three from a very isolated village in District Mansehra (North West
Frontier Province of Pakistan) has a small farm and some livestock as a source of livelihood. From the
last three years, she has been experiencing a constant decline in her wheat production. Zainab is
desperately looking for some help. More knowledge about the alteration in sowing dates, usage of new
crop varieties, irrigation methods, advance seasonal weather forecast etc can be of help to her. Being a
widow and very few resources to rely-on, makes Zainab not only economically but also socially and
politically vulnerable. The addressal of her problems requires special efforts, efforts which could be
reached-out to her.

Though Pakistan is a negligible contributor to the global carbon emissions (contributes 0.4 percent to the
total), recent data shows that due to Climate Change (CC) major crops yield in Pakistan has declined by
30% (Lead, 2008). Experts are of the opinion that CC is enhancing the susceptibility of agriculture zones
to floods, drought and storms. Please note the agriculture is the single largest sector in Pakistan’s
economy, contributing 21 per cent to the GDP and employing 43 per cent of the workforce (Lead, 2008).
There is a common perception in Pakistan, which is also a finding of Gurung and others (2006) that ‘it is
men who are the farmers’. Contrary to this perception, there is evidence available that the women in the
developing countries produce 60-80 percent of food consumed in the house (IUCN, 2007). In Pakistan,
especially in the mountainous regions, men out-migrate for livelihood opportunities (from 50% to 63% of
the households) (WB, 2005) and it is the woman who looks after the family’s agriculture piece of land
along with many other responsibilities. It is interesting to note how much work female household
members contribute outside their homes, but their work is ‘generally less visible and attracts less public
recognition’ (IDS, 2008, Pg. No. 3).

The rise in temperature is going to affect the farming communities in Pakistan as a whole, but will have
severe impacts on individuals/households like Zainab Bibi, who are socially, politically and economically
more vulnerable. There is lots of evidence available that in terms of ‘adaptability’, ‘vulnerability’ and
‘mitigation’ men and women take CC impacts differently (Aguilar 2006, Gurung et al. 2006, CWWL et.
al 2007, UNDP 2007, IDS 2008). Kasperson and Kasperson (2001) are of the opinion that ‘recognizing
and understanding this differential vulnerability is a key to understand the meaning of CC’ (Pg. No.2).

Climate Change and Gender in Pakistan
Pakistan was one of the first countries to ratify the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC) in 1994 and has also endorsed other related protocols (Kyoto and Montreal) but its

 This work contains opinions of some CC stakeholders from Islamabad, Pakistan. Please find the list in the end.
 She was a participant in DRR workshops conducted by the Church World Service - Pakistan in the month of
October 2008. Writer (Maira Zahur from Pakistan) facilitated these workshops.

CC policy is still in the making. Stakeholders who contributed to this paper are of the opinion that not
much in terms of gender should be expected from the forthcoming national CC policy, as responsive
policies can only result when they come out of forums that have equal gender representation along with
the necessary sensitivity.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is a new mechanism of the Government of Pakistan
(GOP) which is trying to address the disaster vulnerabilities of the communities living in hazardous
regions by keeping the gender sensitivities in mind. Since NDMA is a new mechanism not much can be
said about its programs at this point, but if women are not involved in developing and monitoring
important policies and legislations, gender issues will go unnoticed.

In the public sector few specialized agencies are involved in CC research in terms of modeling studies,
developing innovative technology for renewable energy, studying atmospheric data, and providing the
requisite policy structures’ (Lead, 2008, Pg. No. 9). Please note that writer feels that these entities are
mainly inclined towards the hardware, scientific and structural components. Nevertheless in institutes like
Global Change Impact Study Centre (GCISC) and National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC), writer
noticed a good percentage of female researchers with a high level of interest about social and political
dimensions of CC. Please note that the writer was not able to identify any incentives in terms of
compensation, capacity building or professional growth opportunists behind good percentage of female
representatives in these entities.

Under the over-all paradigm of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) there are civil society organizations in
Pakistan (Oxfam, Concern, CWS, Patan etc) who are working with the communities, especially female
peasants to enhance their resilience towards disaster including the ones induced by CC. The Asian
Development Bank (ADB), which believes that women’s rights and access to resources can play a very
important role in reducing their vulnerability to CC, has taken various initiatives to encourage gender-
equal participation in the decision-making bodies (Preuss, 2008). The World Conservation Union (IUCN)
and Lead-Pakistan are two non-profit organizations working exclusively on CC issues and gender is one
dimension they will be using as a cross-cutting theme. Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) Risk
Reduction (a regional project supported by DIPECHO and UNDP) for the Himalayas is currently
underway in Pakistan. The project is trying to address the risks posed by GLOF in the region by
strengthening non-structural and community-based approaches. There are NGOs like Aurat Foundation
and Shirkatgah focusing on gender issues in general.

Pakistan’s environmental policy contains gender as a cross cutting theme and it aims to make all projects
and programs gender sensitive and women empowering. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) also
vows to keep gender sensitivities in mind. It is interesting to note that since the inception, CDM has

implemented 11 different projects. As the CDM projects were mostly related to renewable energies, they
were more focused on 'large scale' activities and neglected women's household energy and small
enterprise needs. GOP is about to initiate the process to formulate its National Action Plan for Adaptation
(NAPA). How far NAPA will go in terms of gender implications is still not known. Pakistan is also an
endorser of Reducing Emissions for Deforestation in Developing (REDD) countries. Writer is not able to
find any pilot project(s) or position paper(s) in relation to CC and gender issues from Pakistan.

It is interesting to note that some important stakeholders in Pakistan see CC impact as ‘Gender Neutral’,
something which is going to affect communities, men and women, rich and poor in a very same way. At
the same time there are also institutions/people who are trying to create space to address social, physical,
political and economic vulnerabilities of CC.

The Way Forward:
The first and foremost challenge in mainstreaming gender into the CC policy of Pakistan is to make
related governmental and non-governmental quarters realize that it has a gender differentiated impact.
Until and unless this is clearly understood, any steps towards addressing CC issues will not bear any

           Who Could Do It
          There is a body of work on CC and its gender implications (Aguilar 2006, Gurung et al. 2006,
           UNDP 2007, IDS 2008). One expects the reflection of these works into different international
           frameworks and protocols on CC. As noted by Ulrike, gender equity is not mentioned in
           UNFCCC (2006) and ‘until very recently, gender issues have not played a major role in the CC
           discussions’ (2005, Page No. 1). Interestingly the International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC)
           position on CC is kind of ‘gender neutral’ (ibid). It is important that the international frameworks
           and stakeholders, who are playing a significant role in shaping the policy on CC, must also realize
           its gender implications. Realization and recognition of gender implications of CC by the
           international bodies is something which may encourage relevant authorities in Pakistan to think
           on these lines too.
          Civil society organizations in Pakistan are working very closely with communities, hence nicely
           placed to highlight issues related to CC and gender with the help of case studies.
          In the recent past, electronic media has become a very useful tool in Pakistan to advocate on
           issues of social concern. Writer’s own experience is, if given well researched case
           studies/material; media does come forward for the help.

           Target Groups for Lobbying and Networking Partners
           At the international level, lobbying groups can be the related UN agencies, International Financial
           Institutions (IFI)(with resource for CC) and research institutes. At the national level, lobbying

        should be done with legislators and state officials. Civil society organizations, women’s groups,
        media and academia must work together to highlight the importance of gender in CC.

Secondly a gender sensitive CC policy should be a priority for the GOP. Greater participation of women
is important in policy-related issues as it brings in diverse perspectives for the decision making. The
perception that CC impacts are gender neutral has never lead to conscious efforts to include women in the
decision making process. Please note that the principle of gender equality is very important for any
authority, but it may not be successful in bringing any meaningful change until and unless voices and
issues from the grassroots are heard and addressed.

        Who Could Do It
       The State must encourage gender equality is the policy/decision making bodies. Please note that
        in Pakistan, governments generally come up with quota to ensure female representation. To fill
        quotas sometimes unqualified people are involved. Writer feels that gender equality for the team
        making CC policy is important, but it should be more than ceremonial. An environment, where
        females can feel comfortable and confident about their issues and work is essential.
       Civil society organizations must act as a watch-dog with the help of the media to keep the CC
        policy making body on the track.

        Target Groups for Lobbying and Networking Partners
        To ensure the inclusion of female participants in the team working on CC issues, lobbying should
        be done with the relevant authorities of the state. Civil society organizations, women groups and
        media must come together to exert pressure on the concerned stakeholders.

The Chief of one of the leading environment agency of Pakistan is of the opinion that ‘there is no
comprehensive mapping of comparative or absolute vulnerabilities to climate change in Pakistan’
(Sheikh, 2008). Writer has observed that among CC stakeholders, there is some willingness to make
gender sensitive policies but they need strong arguments, supported by the data. Third step towards the
inclusion of gender in CC is to increase the research base. Stakeholders are of the opinion that research is
needed on a) how the change in temperature and scarcity of water will affect males and females, b) what
kind of gender differentiated adaptation strategies for agriculture productivity and food security are
needed and c) research on energy consumption patterns to analyze the gender impact of CC in Pakistan.

        Who Could Do It
       It is observed by the writer that for CC research in Pakistan, stakeholders are working in their
        own ‘pockets’ and ‘domains’. To work towards gender-differentiated research, firstly
        stakeholders must realize its importance and come together to compliment each others work. This

        will be only possible when an environment where work can be done without the fear of
        information and data insecurity (Please note that the writer observed a feeling of
        academic/research insecurity among stakeholders) The responsibility lies by the state to create an
        environment (perception, legislation, policy, mechanisms) where stakeholders (NGOs, media,
        research institutes, communities) can play their roles effectively and efficiently.
       As suggested by WEDO (2007) UNFCCC is in a position to establish a ‘system for the use of
        gender sensitive indicators and criteria for government to employ in national reporting to the
        secretariat’ (Pg. No. 2). Writer feels that international bodies must take a lead in developing
        practical tools that can help governments and institutions to incorporate ‘gender equality in CC

        Target Groups for Lobbying and Networking Partners
        At the international level, lobbying groups can be the related UN agencies, International Financial
        Institutions (IFIS) and research institutes. At the national level, lobbying should be done with
        legislators and the state officials. Civil society organizations and academia must work together to
        push for gender differentiated research.


       Aguilar, L., (2006), Climate Change and Disaster Mitigation: Gender Makes the Difference,
        World Conservation Union (IUCN), IUCN
       CWWL, WEDO and HBF (2007), Report of High Level Roundtable – How a Changing Climate
        Impacts Women, Council of Women World Leaders, Women’s Environment and Development
        Organization and HeinrichBoll Foundation, London.
       FAO, (2007), People- Centered Climate Change Adaptation: Integration Gender Issues, Food
        and Agriculture Organizations (FAO), Italy, FAO
       Gurung, J. D., Mwanundu, S. et. al., (2006), Gender and Desertification: Expanding Roles for
        Women to Restore Drylands, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD),
        {Available at}[Accessed November 2,
       IDS, (2008), Gender and Climate Change: Mapping and Linkages – A Scoping Study on
        Knowledge and Gaps, Bridge, Sussex, ISD.
       IUCN, (2007), Climate Change Briefing – Gender and Climate Change, World Conservation
        Union, IUCN.
       Kasperson E.K., and Kasperson J. X., (2001) Climate Change, Vulnerability and Social Justice,
        Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm.
       Lead, (2008), Pakistan’s Options For climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Lead Pakistan,
        Islamabad, Leads.
       Preuss, U. P., (2008), Third Global Congress of Women in Politics and Governance, Gender in
        Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction , 19–22 October 2008, Philippines,
        Asian Development Bank (ADB).
       Röhr, U., (2005), ‘Gender and Climate Change - a Forgotten Issue?’, in Tiempo: Climate Change
        Newsletter,           UEA,           SEI           and           IIED{Available           at}[Accessed November 6,

       Rohr, U., (2006), Gender Relations in International Climate Change Negotiation, GENANET,
       Sheikh, A.T. (2008), Challenge of Climate Change: Pakistan’s Carbon emissions continue to
        grow at an increasing rate, Dawn, Karachi, Dawn
       UNDPD, (2007), Human Development Report 2007/2008 – Flight Climate Change, United
        Nations Development Program (UNDP), New York, UNDP.
       WEDO, (2007), Declaration On Climate Change and Gender Equality, WEDO.
       World Bank, (2005), Pakistan 2005, Earthquake Preliminary Damage and Needs Assessment
        (Online)                      World                    Bank{Available                 at}
        Reports/CompleteReport.pdf[Accessed November 2, 2008].

Stakeholders who provided their perspective in meetings, telephonic conversations and emails

       Mr. Saad Ayyaz, IUCN Islamabad
       Ms. Amber Masood, UNDP, Islamabad
       Dr. Rohi Rakshi, NARC, Islamabad
       Ms. Asma Rashid, GICSC, Islamabad
       Ms. Dina Khan, Lead, Islamabad
       Mr. Ali Hasan, Student of Environmental Studies from Peshawar University, Pakistan
       Ms. Jamila Sakandar, Student of Development Studies from Manchester University, UK
       Ms. Aliya Shah, Student of Gender Studies from Fatima Jinnah University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan