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Climate funds and social protection: What is the progress to date?

January 28, 2024

The 21st century has witnessed a profound transformation in our understanding of the climate crisis and its far-reaching impacts. As the world grapples with the consequences of global warming, it has become increasingly clear that addressing climate change is not merely an environmental challenge but a complex socio-economic issue that requires innovative solutions. According to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2023), there have been changes in the atmosphere, cryosphere, biosphere and ocean leading to loss and damage to people and nature. Historically, vulnerable communities who have contributed the least to climate change are facing the brunt of its negative impacts (ibid). One of the critical aspects of this challenge is the need for social protection measures that can safeguard vulnerable populations from the adverse effects of climate change.Climate finance for social protection has emerged as an area of crucial consideration, to bridge the gap between climate action and social well-being. Climate funds, which are primarily designed to support mitigation and adaptation efforts, could be reimagined to simultaneously strengthen social safety nets, enhance resilience and promote sustainable development. Initiating this paradigm shift reflects the growing recognition that climate change disproportionately affects marginalized and economically disadvantaged communities, exacerbating existing inequalities.This paper delves into the evolving landscape of climate finance for social protection. It gives an overview of current social protection spending, financing and coverage gaps across the world, and explores how climate finance can strengthen social protection systems, build resilience and improve socio-economic outcomes. The brief then zooms into adaptation funds (climate funds focused on enhancing the adaptive capacities of communities) to understand what kinds of social protection-related projects are being funded. An analysis following this was conducted to identify to what extent adaptation funds have been used for social protection or social protection type projects.

Housing, land and property in the context of climate change, disasters and displacement

July 10, 2023

This brief presents the Norwegian Refugee Council's knowledge and experience in addressing housing, land and property (HLP) issues associated with climate change, disasters and displacement, including those often aggravated by conflict. It is not a comprehensive catalogue of HLP issues, nor does it present the full breadth of NRC's operations. Rather, it reflects the organisation's experience in delivering information counselling and legal assistance (ICLA), shelter and settlements and other programmes, and draws on its role as lead and co-lead of inter-agency coordination. The brief documents examples of NRC's operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mozambique, Somalia and South Sudan, countries also identified for the work of the Special Adviser.

Women as the Way Forward: Lessons from Afghan Women's Empowerment Journey—And What Can Be Done Now

June 29, 2023

Women as the Way Forward attempts to make sense of the mistakes and successes of the last several decades of policymaking, as well as what needs to be done now to prevent further disaster in Afghanistan. This is all examined through a lens of Afghan women's past and future centrality in sustainable and effective policymaking—from security to stability to economics to addressing humanitarian challenges. While the report's historical review aims to prevent the repetition of past mistakes, the core of the paper is its recommendations for the way forward. Clearly, Western governments have made assumptions about points of leverage with the Taliban that have been incorrect and overall failed to develop a coherent Afghanistan policy. Gaining a better understanding of the Taliban's ideology and goals, which I explore in this paper, is key to formulating more effective and grounded policy. Having completed high school in the same kind of extremist Pakistani madrassas that the Taliban were shaped in, I understand firsthand the extent of their radicalism.

The Taliban's War on Women: The crime against humanity of gender persecution in Afghanistan

May 25, 2023

After the Taliban seized control of Kabul in August 2021, the human rights situation of women and girls in Afghanistan deteriorated severely, despite the Taliban's initial promise to respect women's and girls' rights. The Taliban have been increasingly introducing new restrictions with the apparent aim of completely erasing women's and girls' presence from public arenas. Taliban policies have been further oppressing women and girls in almost all aspects of their lives. The widespread and systematic subjugation of girls and women in Afghanistan is a flagrant violation of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Barriers to Afghanistan’s critical private sector recovery

April 5, 2023

Afghanistan has undergone a series of complex political, economic and social changes since the return to power of the Taliban in August 2021, whereby the plight of the Afghan people has deteriorated into an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe. The Taliban's stance towards women, including restrictions on female education and bans on female aid workers, have posed additional challenges to the Afghan people and the country's economic prospects, as well as to international donors and aid organisations. Since the Taliban's resumption of power, international actors have pursued policies of political and economic isolation towards Afghanistan that have contributed to the current economic crisis and the populations' reliance on humaniatrian assistance. To date, most research and policy efforts have centred on the humanitarian catastrophe and the plight of women and girls. Less attention has been placed on constraints facing trade with Afghanistan, including those negatively impacting supply chains of essential goods that are neceassry to address the basic needs of Afghan people. This report seeks to fill a knowledge gap on some of the key challenges facing Afghan trade, especially relating to food and essential goods needed for basic survival. It is based on 25 anonymised interviews carried out in mid-2022 with a range of private sector, development and banking actors operating in, or with, Afghanistan. It explores challenges associated with international targeted sanctions; financial sector derisking; shifts in domestic regulations; implications of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022; and wider trade and economic constraints. It also aims to showcase best-practice and coping strategies employed by the private sector operating in Afghanistan and generate a series of policy recommendations based on input from Afghan companies and those operating in the wider region.

“This Is Why We Became Activists”: Violence Against Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women and Non-Binary People

February 14, 2023

According to interviews Human Rights Watch conducted with 66 lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ+) activists, researchers, lawyers, and movement leaders in 26 countries between March and September 2022, forced marriage is one of ten key areas of human rights abuses most affecting LBQ+ women's lives. Human Rights Watch identified the following areas of LBQ+ rights as those in need of immediate investigation, advocacy, and policy reform. This report explores how the denial of LBQ+ people's rights in these ten areas impacts their lives and harms their ability to exercise and enjoy the advancement of more traditionally recognized LGBT rights and women's rights:the right to free and full consent to marriage;land, housing, and property rights;freedom from violence based on gender expression;freedom from violence and discrimination at work;freedom of movement and the right to appear in public without fear of violence;parental rights and the right to create a family;the right to asylum;the right to health, including services for sexual, reproductive, and mental health;protection and recognition as human rights defenders; andaccess to justice.This investigation sought to analyze how and in what circumstances the rights of LBQ+ people are violated, centering LBQ+ identity as the primary modality for inclusion in the report. Gender-nonconforming, non-binary, and transgender people who identify as LBQ+ were naturally included. At the same time, a key finding of the report is that the fixed categories "cisgender" and "transgender" are ill-suited for documenting LBQ+ rights violations, movements, and struggles for justice. As will be seen in this report, people assigned female at birth bear the weight of highly gendered expectations which include marrying and having children with cisgender men, and are punished in a wide range of ways for failing or refusing to meet these expectations. Many LBQ+ people intentionally decenter cisgender men from their personal, romantic, sexual, and economic lives. In this way, the identity LBQ+ itself is a transgression of gendered norms. Whether or not an LBQ+ person identifies as transgender as it is popularly conceptualized, the rigidly binary (and often violently enforced) gender boundaries outside of which LBQ+ people already live, regardless of their gender identity, may help to explain why the allegedly clear division between "cisgender" and "transgender" categories simply does not work for many LBQ+ communities. This report aims to explore and uplift, rather than deny, that reality.

Bringing Afghan Women's Voices to the Foreground in Peace and Conflict

December 30, 2022

This report brings together the extensive research data gathered by BISHNAW between 2020 and 2022 and highlights some of the key trends that have emerged over this turbulent and chaotic period in Afghanistan's recent history. The report begins by briefly outlining the development of the BISHNAW initiative and its bottom-up digital methodology. The second section of the report focuses on the project's research findings. This section is organized around the six key messages that have emerged from the research from 2020 - 2022. The messages center on the experiences, challenges, and strategies used by women around the country, shedding light on how the shifting political and economic landscape has impacted living conditions for women and girls. The report ends with a brief conclusion and reflections on the way forward.

Understanding the climate and net-zero transition risks and opportunities in Kyrgyzstan

December 16, 2022

Kyrgyzstan is already experiencing climate change impacts. Climate change projections for the 2050s indicate seasonal and annual shifts in both temperatures and precipitation, as well as increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme events that will affect the country's energy systems. Melting glaciers and snowpack could impact the generation capacity of large-scale hydropower in some river basins.Climate risks to energy infrastructure result from the combination of vulnerability, exposure and shifts in the frequency, intensity, duration and location of climate hazards. Climate risks have to be considered not only to individual infrastructure, but also for the energy system as a whole.

Understanding the climate and net-zero transition risks and opportunities in Tajikistan

December 16, 2022

Tajikistan is already experiencing climate change impacts. Climate change projections for the 2050s indicate seasonal and annual shifts in both temperatures and precipitation, as well as increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme events that will affect the country's energy systems. Melting glaciers and snowpack could impact the generation capacity of large-scale hydropower along some river reaches.

The EU LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025 and its key action items for trans people: TGEU Progress Report 2022

December 7, 2022

In November 2020, the European Commission published the EU LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025, its first comprehensive strategy for advancing the rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) people in the European Union. The EU LGBTIQ Equality Strategy is an important symbol of a cohesive commitment by the European Commission towards achieving equality for LGBTIQ people in the EU. TGEU welcomed its release in 2020, noting that the strategy "signals a new level of awareness and commitment of the European Union for the equality of LGBTIQ people. TGEU, alongside other stakeholders, has been for years demanding a comprehensive response addressing the challenges of trans people."TGEU's first Progress Report 2021 identified the elements of the EU LGBTIQ Equality Strategy that specifically targeted the trans community or where we foresaw significant impact on the lives of trans people in the EU. In this year's report, we give an overall assessment of how the strategy is delivering (or not) for trans people in the EU, as well as an update of what has been achieved toward the biggest highlights that we identified in our last report. We also include examples of how TGEU has been supporting the implementation of the strategy and our recommendations. Finally, we comment on other features of the strategy that were highlighted in our last report and present a table of main pieces of legislation and their status. The report includes work done until early December 2022 and of which we have knowledge.

Digital Dictatorship: Authoritarian Tactics and Resistance in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

October 13, 2022

The use of technology to repress democratic dissent is nothing new. Countries such as China and Russia are widely documented repeat offenders when it comes to deploying authoritarian tactics in digital spaces. Our latest report, Digital dictatorship: authoritarian tactics and resistance in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, explains how a digital dictatorship can emerge and how pro-democracy activists are fighting back.

Hunger in a heating world: How the climate crisis is fuelling hunger in an already hungry world (French Version)

September 16, 2022

La présente note d'information se penche sur la façon dont les changements climatiques agissent comme un multiplicateur de risque, aggravant les menaces existantes et la vulnérabilité à la faim des personnes déjà défavorisées, en particulier les femmes, les travailleurs/euses agricoles et les petit·es exploitant·es. Elle passe en revue les principaux phénomènes météorologiques extrêmes survenant dans sept régions où les populations sont les plus touchées : les typhons en Asie, la sécheresse en Afrique de l'Est, les cyclones en Afrique du Sud, la sécheresse au Sahel, le « couloir de la sécheresse » en Amérique latine, l'élévation du niveau de la mer dans le Pacifique et le manque d'eau dans les bassins de l'Euphrate et du Tigre.This brief focuses on how climate change acts as a threat multiplier, worsening the existing risks and vulnerabilities to hunger for already disadvantaged people, particularly women, agricultural workers, and small-scale farmers. It explores major climatic events across seven regions where people are being worst affected: Asia's typhoons, East Africa's drought, South Africa's cyclones, the Sahel's drought, Latin America's dry corridor, the Pacific sea-level rise, and water scarcity in the Euphrates and Tigris River basins.