Climate-smart development and resilience goals cannot be accomplished without careful attention to the linkages between gender and climate.

Gender bias and social exclusion reduce women’s access to resources and their public ‘voice’ in decision-making at all levels. When coupled with climate shocks, such gendered systems greatly exacerbate women’s vulnerability to climate change. This results in stark gender differences in such outcomes as, for example, the rate at which women are killed in extreme events, compared to men.[1] Women’s over-representation in natural resource-based occupations such as agriculture, compared to men’s predominance in services and manufacturing, also has serious consequences for women’s livelihoods and related impacts such as food security and nutrition.[2]

CIF Gender Action Plan - Phase 1 

In 2014, the CIF launched its Gender Action Plan to improve gender integration across its $8.3 billion set of funds in climate mitigation and adaptation. Efforts under the Plan included closer monitoring of the gender ‘quality at entry’ of CIF investment plans and projects; enhanced learning and capacity building; and development of sector-specific tools for implementers.

Under the Plan, there has been great improvement on CIF performance on gender across all programs including the large-scale renewable energy program, which historically lagged on gender.[3] Gender-responsive design examples can now be found throughout the portfolio, including in private sector activities, with expected results in such impact areas as: enhanced workforce development and job creation for women in renewable energy in Colombia and Haiti; improved outreach and household demand-side management in district heating and off-grid investments in Maldives, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, and in optimizing energy linkages to productive use applications in Nepal.

In forests, CIF investments support women’s enhanced role in local resource governance and non-timber forest enterprise development in Burkina Faso and Lao PDR, and foster mainstreaming of gender planning and budgeting in the national forest agency in Mexico. Adaptation program investments of CIF feature significant direct benefits for women’s economic opportunities and voice across such areas as water management, agribusiness, and adaptive social protection Tajikistan, Cambodia, Niger, and Zambia.     

Boosting Gender-Transformative Outcomes in Phase 2

The Phase 2 plan features a deliberate shift from gender mainstreaming processes alone, to an emphasis on outcomes framed under a more ambitious gender-transformational goal: “Women’s improved asset position, voice, and livelihoods status through access to benefits from CIF-funded investments”.

Phase 2 will deepen the CIF’s efforts on policy, technical support, evaluation and learning, and stakeholder engagement. This will include elaboration of a CIF Gender Policy, as well as a scaled-up analytical and knowledge agenda. 

The new phase focuses on three pillars:

1. CIF-wide and Program Governance

This pillar focuses on internal CIF functions and inputs, such as enhancing CIF gender policy requirements and procedures; broadening provision of gender technical support; ensuring representation of women’s interests; and promoting South-South learning on gender integration across programs, and gender-sensitive Monitoring and Evaluation.

2. Local and National Institutions

Pillar 2 focuses on fostering sustainable approaches, processes and outcomes at the country level in local and national institutions. Activities under this pillar include the development of women’s leadership, skill and mobility opportunities, and changes in socio-cultural norms. This pillar includes use of gender-inclusive approaches in government planning and local resource governance, through national gender mainstreaming mechanisms.

3. Green Growth and Sustainable Livelihoods

The third pillar features the key sector investment areas in climate mitigation and adaptation under the CIF that are expected to result in improved outcomes for gender equality. This includes income and non-income benefits for women from investments in renewable energy, forests, and a wide range of adaptation sub-sectors from agriculture to disaster risk reduction. Expected outcome areas include improvements in energy access, tenure security, employment, and food security, among others.

To track results, the Phase 2 plan has a new set of impact indicators that examine such areas as: women’s increased employment in the renewable energy sector; percentage share of female beneficiaries in CIF-funded low carbon transport and adaptive social protection operations. Phase 2 evaluative efforts will assess changes at the levels of institutions, individuals, and markets.

Finally, the CIF will continue in Phase 2 to engage with other global climate finance actors to share lessons on effective approaches to gender and climate policy and implementation in diverse settings. 

READ CIF Gender Action Plan - Phase 2.


[1] In cyclone and flood disasters in Bangladesh in 1991 for example, the mortality rate among women aged 20-44 was 71 per 1000, versus just 15 per 1000 for men of the same age group. This was due to socio-cultural norms around women’s mobility. 

[2] Women often use negative coping strategies such as reducing their food intake in response to climate shocks at the household level.

[3] Sixty-eight percent of new CIF projects approved in 2015 undertook sector-specific gender analysis at design stage, compared to a baseline of 24 percent of projects at the start of the Plan. Over 55 percent of new projects had specific activities targeting women and have sex-disaggregated indicators in their results frameworks.