Events at COP28

On December 3, 2023, GEDA hosted two events at the UNFCCC 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. These included an official COP28 side event and an informal networking space in the Women and Gender Constituency pavilion. Read on for recaps of “GEDA Day” at COP! 

Roots of Change

GEDA’s official COP28 side event, “Roots of Change: The Gender and Environment Data Alliance,” highlighted the work of GEDA members across region on gender and environment data.  Angie Dazé (IISD, GEDA Core Partner and member of Interim Steering Committee) opened the event by providing an overview of GEDA, where she showcased the work of our Technical Guidance and Mapping Consultants, as well as the results of our expanded membership, which included the panelists from Fiji, Kenya, and Colombia. Angie highlighted GEDA’s key role in the expansion of gender environment data to foster collaboration, link the people generating data with the people who need it and create spaces for non-traditional methods and co-production of knowledge.

Menka Goundan (ARROW, GEDA Core Partner and member of Interim Steering Committee) moderated the panel that featured the following speakers:

  • Unaisi Raileqe, Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding (Fiji)
  • Dr Helen Teghtegh, Community Links and Human Empowerment Initiative (Nigeria)
  • Sofía Gutierrez, Barranquilla+20 (Colombia)
  • Mariam Ibrahim, Development Initiatives (Kenya) 
  • Dr. Meghna Ranganathan, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UNFPA)

The panel explored the following questions: 

  1. What methods for data and evidence gathering does your organization use to bring lived  experience to the policy arena? 
  2. Why is gender-environment data essential for your work on environmental/climate justice? 
  3. Why is it important that this knowledge and data informs the UNFCCC/COP28 space? 

All speakers highlighted different types of non-traditional data collection. Unaisi Raileqe and Sofía Gutierrez both remarked on using storytelling as a data collection method, reclaiming it as a way to provide a safe space for uncensored opinions. Dr. Meghna Ranganathan, meanwhile, expanded on the belief that using participatory methods to understand community needs – combining lived experience with big data sets – is the key next step in integrating gender environment data. Dr. Helen Teghtegh remarked on how the lack of gender disaggregated data neglects key needs. Referring to the larger environment gender data nexus framework, Dr. Teghtegh stated that data is the “solution to gender inequality.” Giving voice to a trend seen throughout the panel, Mariam Ibrahim brought to light how understanding the financing data ecosystem because that allows us to adequately invest on gender data. 

Natalie Cleveland (Data2X, GEDA Core Partner and member of Interim Steering Committee) then opened the space for a roundtable discussion, where the panel and the audience explored comments regarding intersectional and decolonizing data, feminist interview methods, and data ownership and protection.

Data that is collected should fulfill a purpose both from the community and for the community.

Sofía Gutierrez, Barranquilla+20

The session raised the following key points: 

  1. Partnering with local women’s organizations and movements is key to design locally-relevant and appropriate gender data collection efforts engaging women and girls.
  2. Gender data collection and analysis should adopt an intersectional approach, considering and analyzing power across the data value chain from collection to use.
  3. Data systems are key to support climate adaptation and resilience. 
  4. Governments must put gender data to use in developing inclusive environmental policies, strategies and initiatives  for gender-responsive climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience plans.
  5. It’s important that women, girls and gender-diverse people are meaningfully included and represented within data collection on the environment and climate.

We can’t invest in changing what we don’t know.

– Jamie Wen-Besson, IUCN (GEDA Co-Convener)

Conversation Circle

Following the official side event, GEDA convened an informal space for networking and conversation around gender and environment data. This “Conversation Circle” served to introduce GEDA to the COP28 audience, especially the Women and Gender Constituency, and to build community among the ecosystem of actors interested in gender-environment data. Close on the heels of GEDA’s membership expansion, this session offered a space for GEDA members (both founding and newer members) to learn about each other’s work, with particular relevance to the UNFCCC policy arena. 

The session began with Bridget Burns, WEDO, and Jamie Wen-Besson, IUCN, GEDA’s co-conveners, who provided an overview of GEDA’s founding and purpose, as well as a recap of the Global Conference on Gender and Environment Data held as a COP28 presessional event the preceding week. Participants then exchanged ideas and perspectives on gender-environment data, citing the need for greater inclusion of “non-official” data while also cautioning against playing into the narrative of needing data as “proof” – a message also articulated at the Conference. The discussion emphasized ways that indicators and various data methodologies, including qualitative data grounded in the lived experiences of women, can be used to “triangulate the truth.” This nexus is fundamental to GEDA’s approach, especially as the alliance intends to weave information and narratives to encourage the data points to speak to–or shout to–decision-making spaces. 

Additional priorities raised during the conversation included: the need to build up a reference base and enable learning across the gender-environment-data ecosystem; feminist partnership and capacity strengthening; data that tracks outcomes from investments in climate action (not just the differentiated impacts of climate change); attention to long-term impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on women, including in relation to care work; and the need for mechanisms of data collection and feedback that foreground the ownership and needs of communities where data is collected. 

GEDA members present at the conversation circle included ARROW, Barranquilla+20, Data2X, IISD, IUCN, Population Council, WEDO, Women Environmental Programme (WEP), and Women Deliver, as well as Ardiana Jaku, a member of GEDA’s new Data Advisory Group. 

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