Advancing Gender In The Environment: Exploring The Triple Nexus Of Gender Inequality, State Fragility, And Climate Vulnerability

  • Date Posted: March 11, 2021


People standing underneath a tree

Across countries, gender inequality, state fragility, and climate vulnerability present challenges to the well-being of communities and the ecosystems upon which they depend. While much research exists connecting pairs of these issues—for example, the need for gender-responsive approaches to realize climate goals—little attention has been devoted to the intersection of the three issues, nor to how this ‘triple nexus’ could be taken into account toward more effective sustainable development decision-making and programming. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), together with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), conducted this study under its 10-year partnership on Advancing Gender in the Environment (AGENT) to explore the links related to the triple-nexus topics.

The research methodology included 1) a literature review on the three distinct issues and their overlaps, and 2) the construction, mapping, and analysis of an indicators framework through which to view the linkages as a triple nexus. The framework took into account 27 country level indicators—e.g. inheritance rights of widows and daughters (OECD), government effectiveness (World Bank), and low elevation population (CIESIN2-Columbia University)—to better understand how and where linkages among gender inequality, state fragility, and climate vulnerability are prevalent in 122 countries where USAID has a country or regional mission.

Key findings from this research include the following:

1. Aspects of gender inequality, state fragility, and climate vulnerability affect each country to varying degrees;

2. Analysis of framework results suggests that the indicators are positively correlated with one another. This means that countries with relatively higher values in one issue area tend to have relatively higher scores in the other issue areas;

3. The mapping analysis demonstrated that the triple nexus issues are particularly prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa; and

4. There are significant data gaps for gender, environmental, and fragility indicators, especially in small island states. This suggests an urgent need for investment in sex-disaggregated and environmental data, as well as informing peace and resilience efforts.

The issues and underlying causes of gender inequality, state fragility and climate vulnerability are highly complex and context-specific. Country level indicators are one tool to identify the prevalence of triple nexus issues, but risk analysis should be coupled with grounded research to provide context-specific evidence of how these issues are impacting local communities. This study reinforces the need for integrated gender-responsive policy and program approaches that incorporate gender, climate change, and state fragility considerations, which IUCN, together with its members, peers and partners, can pursue through ongoing knowledge building, capacity building and technical support. In any such actions, women and girls should be supported and positioned as actors for peace and resilience

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