The global pandemic has revealed how underprepared the world is for systemic shocks, including the rapidly escalating environmental crisis. Even before COVID-19, the world was off-track to meet global commitments to a greener and fairer future. Now, with the world at a crossroads, as outlined in UN Women’s Feminist Plan for Sustainability and Social Justice, one of the most consequential questions facing governments, business and the global community is whether decisive action will be taken to rapidly transition the global economy to more sustainable and equitable patterns of production and consumption to prevent – or at least reduce the extent of – environmental breakdown.
As the world recovers and rebuilds from COVID-19, preliminary data on gender and green recovery measures point to widening gaps in the policy responses thus far. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Green Recovery Database indicates that in OECD countries only 2.5% of green recovery measures are gender-relevant (18 out of 705 measures). While the overall proportion of measures that address both gender and environmental objectives is very low, there are also some innovative practices, underscoring the need to closer monitor the global response and encourage learning and cross-fertilization across countries.
To expand this analysis globally, UN Women is collaborating with the OECD and UNDP to integrate a green lens in the COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker (a “green gender tracker”) – a collective commitment to the Feminist Action for Climate Justice Action Coalition, launched at the Generation Equality Forum in 2021. The new tool, planned for release in June 2022, will expand coverage by combining data from the UNDP-UN Women COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker and the OECD Green Recovery Database to map existing gender-sensitive and green-recovery measures in more than 200 countries and territories. This Green Gender Tracker will give decision-makers a concrete overview of whether and to what extent country measures are gender- and environment-sensitive. It will equally showcase ‘what works’ in the design and implementation of post-COVID recovery measures. The goal is to highlight gaps but also to showcase good practices to encourage further uptake of green gender-sensitive measures across countries.
As governments gather in New York for the 66th Commission on the Status of Women from 14–25 March – focusing on gender equality in climate change and environmental solutions, policies and programmes – questions about ‘where do we stand’ and ‘what works’ will be central to their deliberations.
Going forward, with this new tracker, policymakers will be better placed to build policy responses that put gender equality and sustainability at the centre of recovery and transformation, bringing us closer to a greener and more gender-equal world.
For more information on this initiative see our joint post on the OECD Environment Focus blog.
Silke Staab is a research specialist at UN Women. She has published widely on gender, care and social policy and co-authored several of the organization’s flagship reports. Before joining UN Women, Silke earned her PhD from the University of Manchester and worked as researcher for different UN agencies and non-governmental organizations, including the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Constanza Tabbush is a Research Specialist at UN Women. She co-authored the latest edition of UN Women’s flagship report, Progress of the World’s Women, and has published extensively on gender, social movements, and social policy. Since 2018, she also serves as Associate Editor at the International Feminist Journal of Politics. Constanza gained her PhD in Sociology at the University of London, and prior to joining UN women, worked as Research Associate at the National Research Council in Argentina (CONICET).