The advocacy and knowledge sphere is at the heart of the mainstreaming framework as it is integral to all spheres. It must inform climate change and DRR policy reform, organisational change, CCA project implementation, and community-driven risk assessments. Increased awareness of the gender impacts of climate change among all members of society as well as increased substantiated knowledge of how to address gender equality in these thematic areas is fundamental in promoting and sustaining equitable resilience.
A review of the Sendai Framework on DRR’s predecessor, the Hyogo Framework, showed gender disaggregated data to be available in only 14% of Asia-Pacific countries, with a complete absence of gender disaggregated data in most Pacific countries (UNISDR 2013). Due to extremely limited collection and use of SADD in the Pacific, current data are insufficient for informing decision making. The lack of data means that proper analysis on the immediate and long-term social impacts of climate change is not done well, and similarly the impact of climate change adaptation initiatives cannot be quantified without baseline data.
The presence of a gender specialist can make a substantial difference to data availability and quality. For example, gender and protection issues were extensively addressed in both the Cyclone Evan PDNA (Government of Samoa 2013) and the Cyclone Pam PDNA (Government of Vanuatu 2015c). Both assessments made gender-specific recommendations such as support to help men and women find alternative livelihood options, training and resources for women farmers, addressing land ownership issues to assist female headed households who lost their homes but have no rights to land, increasing access to reproductive and maternal health services, and GBV counselling and outreach. In both cases, there were gender specialists with responsibility for conducting gender analysis. Similarly, in cases where climate change projects have a gender advisor on the project team, or a nominated gender focal point, clear benefits to women can be seen in the form of gender indicators that are tracked throughout project implementation to ensure that clear benefits to women are achieved.
Another observation was the severe lack of inter-agency, cross-organisational or cross-sectoral sharing of data, limiting opportunities for this information to be fully utilised and analysed for improving policy and programming work. For example, the government stakeholders consulted in Vanuatu for this study noted that NGOs were collecting data on the gender impacts of climate change and disasters but there was no process for sharing this with relevant government agencies. The stakeholders suggested that if such data was shared, it may be useful in informing policy and programming work, although this is also reliant on adequate technical capacity in conducting gender analysis being available within the agency. Similar observations were made during the Tonga Climate Finance and Risk Governance Assessment (CFRGA) (Kingdom of Tonga 2015).