Launched in Geneva in February 2024, the Climate-Gender Impact Group is co-chaired by Elise Buckle of SHE Changes Climate, Jagan Chapagain of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Ambassador and Permanent Representative Christian Guillermet Fernández of Costa Rica, and Ambassador and Permanent Representative Katharina Stasch of Germany.


Research shows that climate change and environmental degradation disproportionately impact women and girls. Women, for instance, are 14 times more likely than men to die in chronic and catastrophic environmental hazard situations (UNDP). As they tend to be more dependent on communal resources and subsistence farming, rural women are often the first to bear the cost of environmental degradation in the form of bad harvests, lack of access to clean water, or longer journeys in search of water, firewood, and other household resources. Women displaced my climate change often reside in congested evacuation centers and informal settlements, leaving them at heightened risk of gender-based and sexual violence, as well as lacking in healthcare and social protections (UNHCR). Reduced resilience following disasters in displacement settings can lead to the adoption of harmful coping measures such as child marriage and sale and exchange of sex. In addition, multiple barriers to women’s participation in the formal economy reduce women’s ability to prevent impacts climate change and adapt: they have less access to formalized safety nets, technology and information as globally about 53% of women aged 15-64 are in the labour force compared to nearly 80% of men.

Yet, there is a substantial gap between women’s particularly high stake in climate change and environmental conservation and their ability to act on it: while women around the world have emerged as important leaders for environmental protection, climate justice and an ecological transition, they remain significantly underrepresented in institutions forming environmental and climate policy from community and national governance structures to international fora. Research across several international organisations has found that there is still a lack of prioritization of gender equality in climate action through measurable goals and action, as well as lack of gender literacy and understanding.

Addressing these gendered disparities is essential for achieving sustainable development and climate resilience. By recognizing and prioritizing the specific challenges faced by women, we can foster inclusive and gender-responsive strategies that promote mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage,, and empowerment. Therefore, the International Gender Champions (IGC) Global Board has made it an IGC strategic priority to strengthen the Gender-Climate Nexus through a range of activities. A key pillar of that work is the creation of Climate-Gender Impact Groups in each of the six IGC Hubs. Led directly by Champions, these multi-stakeholder working groups aim to break down silos between missions, international organisations, civil society, academic research and business. They focus on a specific topic for systems change across a sector by identifying gender blind spots and opportunities, developing strategic objectives to make policy, programs and practice more gender fluent, and creating action plans to operationalize gender equality objectives.


On 14 February 2024, the Impact Group was launched at the IFRC's headquarters in Geneva. Celeste Saulo, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), provided insightful opening remarks. This was followed by a discussion between the co-chairs and Marie-Claire Graf of the Youth Negotiators Academy who moderated the event. The co-chairs called on all interested Geneva-based Champions to join the group. 


  • Representation: Fostering an intersectional approach to climate action by promoting equitable, diverse, meaningful and safe representation in policy- and decision-making bodies. This includes ensuring that those most affected by climate change, including displaced communities and members of civil society, are part of the policy making and decision making, and that delegations representing governments and political bodies work towards achieving gender parity.
  • Synergies: Strengthening a collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach to addressing the Climate-Gender Nexus that emphasizes the importance of responsive, integrated strategies rather than reactive measures which perpetuate pre-existing patterns of discrimination and exclusion. This includes helping the IGC community and the broader Geneva ecosystem to ‘connect the dots’ between gender, climate and the different policy areas in Geneva, including human rights, humanitarian action, displacement and migration, health, economic empowerment and trade.
  • Gender-responsive budgeting: Advancing the integration of gender considerations into climate finance and budgeting processes to promote effective resources allocation towards gender-responsive climate solutions, localised action and an empowered feminist civil society.