Embedding inclusion in climate action: Lessons from the UK PACT Green Recovery Challenge Fund Portfolio

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Climate change disproportionately affects groups of disadvantaged people. These groups often have less opportunity to drive change as a result of pre-existing societal and cultural inequalities. Solutions to climate change must consider these social dynamics, and deliver gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) responsive activities.

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund (GRCF) is a component of UK PACT that has been supporting the acceleration of the low-carbon transition in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. The GRCF places significant emphasis on mainstreaming gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) throughout project activities, and this learning paper collates the experiences of the ICF Consulting team in supporting climate action projects under the GRCF.

This paper outlines the need to mainstream GESI into climate action, from the key barriers to the vital lessons of successful GESI mainstreaming, evidenced by GRCF projects across eight areas:

1. Designing climate projects with inherent GESI impacts
2. Creating entry for climate projects with less obvious GESI opportunities.
3. Involving disadvantaged groups to inform decision making
4. Challenging social norms
5. Facilitating inclusive participation
6. Forming and strengthening partnerships capacity for equity
7. Influencing for inclusive policy
8. Institutionalising GESI processes

To deep-dive into the challenges faced – and the successes achieved – by GRCF implementing teams and the delivery partner in embedding GESI in their activities, as they offer important reflections and takeaways for any climate action intervention. The paper concludes by exploring how these actions can be taken forward beyond the GRCF.

These lessons are shared to drive GESI-focused climate action by designers and implementers of climate projects, delivery partners of large climate funds, and donors – while also giving government counterparts insight into how their support in technical assistance projects can lead to inclusive and transformative change.