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The role of policy implementation in climate change

  • By Tobias Meso
  • May 13, 2022

In the past decade, climate change has been taken more seriously by the political world, or so we thought. Several policies have been created to prevent further consequences from climate change in the Global South, specifically regarding gender mainstreamed policies. However, these have failed to help the climate struggle; and are especially prevalent in East Africa.


There are gender mainstreamed policies in existence, but a lack of implementation and effectiveness to the vulnerabilities of women in climate change. One source stated that “82% of Uganda’s sampled national level policies integrate gender. However, 33% of those integrating gender do not have implementation strategies” (Ampaire, Acosta & Huyer, 2020).  


There is a trend highlighting gender impacts from climate change in conferences and politics through policy creation but lacks of follow-ups. This was also evident in 1992 International Conference on Water and Environment held in Dublin, Ireland, which discussed issues regarding women without a strategy or plan. “Dublin Principle III… simply states the centrality of women to water and of water to women. No specific actions or recommendations are embedded in its language” (Ray, 2017).


Several policies relevant to women and climate change lack oversight strategies or effective implementation tactics. They also lacked adaptability in various cultural environments as they were ignored in state-to-state policies and lacked community motivation to implement due to the failure to recognize the significance of the gendered realities and everyday experiences. Based on the research gathered, it was evident that there were two most common scenarios regarding policies about women’s vulnerability to climate change. The first was that “gender is not sufficiently mainstreamed in many areas of development policy and practice” (Nelson, 2002), while the second concerns ineffective policies that have no follow-through. Several of the guidelines present are very recent, with the most recent having been created in 2010.

Due to this, the failure in implementation could relate to the unfamiliarity the public or governments has with climate change in East Africa. The policies that are put in place to benefit women in vulnerability also need an implementation process, as countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania “has not put in place a legislative framework to address climate change and relies heavily on policies” ( Aura, Nyasimi, Cramer & Thornton, 2017).


The present policies regarding women’s vulnerabilities to climate change in Eastern Africa were ineffective and lacked applicability and follow-ups in helping the communities it intended to benefit. However, it is significant to note that women cannot suddenly change or stop their responsibilities suddenly because several livelihoods depend on their roles within society. As a result, this creates a dilemma for implementing policies regarding women’s vulnerabilities to climate change, as they do not have the time, resources, support, or option to suddenly alter their roles. However, these policies can still be effective if they are created with the community’s needs in mind and a collaborative effort that could ensure a scenario that would benefit everyone.


Ampaire, E.L., Acosta, M., Huyer, S. Et al. “Gender in climate change, agriculture, and natural resource policies: insights from East Africa.” Climatic Change 158, 43–60 (2020). Https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-019-02447-0 


Aura R, Nyasimi M, Cramer L, Thornton P. 2017. “Gender review of climate change legislative and policy frameworks and strategies in East Africa.” CCAFS Working Paper no. 209. Wageningen, the Netherlands: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). 


Nelson, Valerie, et al. “Uncertain predictions, invisible impacts, and the need to mainstream gender in climate change adaptations.” Gender & Development 10.2 (2002): 51-59. 


Ray, Isha. “Women, water, and development.” Annu. Rev. Environ. Resour. 32 (2007): 421-449.