This Background Paper argues that effective governance of climate change, environmental and disaster risk is not achievable unless it integrates Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls, underpinned by the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Currently, efforts to ensure more genderequitable outcomes, or indeed to close the gender gap between women and men through risk governance, rarely address the structural nature of the challenge. The SDG5 lens on climate change, disaster and environmental risk allows us to see that gender inequalities in access to socio-economic resources and marginalization of women in national and local governance are socially constructed drivers of risk. It changes the narrative on how to address gender unequal outcomes, from the old story of helping the vulnerable, to the new one of addressing gender inequality as an underlying driver of risk and empowering women through increased presence, voice, agency, and resources in the policy-making process and implementing institutions.
The paper contributes to the deliberations of the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on the priority theme of the sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66): “Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.” The paper will also contribute to the priority theme report, which UN Women prepares on behalf of the Secretary-General, and which will be discussed during the ministerial segment of CSW.