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New Insight Brief: Gender and Youth Engagement in Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategies

Photo Courtesy of the NDC Partnership

Incorporating the voices of marginalized stakeholders into long-term, low emission development strategies (LT-LEDS) is central to realizing an equitable future. The incorporation of gender and youth into long-term planning ensures that the benefits and impacts of development not only address existing inequalities faced by the stakeholders but also recognizes their agency in climate action.  

A new Insight Brief, produced by the NDC Partnership Support Unit and informed by the UNFCCC's synthesis report on LT-LEDS summarizes trends and recommendations for further inclusion of gender and youth consideration into the LT-LEDS planning and implementation process. 

The brief summarizes the degree to which gender equality and youth engagement are reflected in the LT-LEDS documents from 45 NDC Partnership member countries. Key findings highlight that while most LT-LEDS mentioned either gender equality or youth, less than 10 took a more comprehensive approach and incorporated the voices of women and youth into long-term planning. Within the review of sector-specific planning included in LT-LEDS (such as energy, water, health, education sector and more), gender is mentioned the most in reference to the energy sector, as compared to other sectors. While for youth, education is the most mentioned.  

Based on the analysis and the NDC Partnership’s engagement in close to 90 developing countries, recommendations to strengthen gender and youth inclusion within long-term planning are summarized below. 

  1. Align gender equality and youth engagement in LT-LEDS development with other low-emission development priorities.   

Countries can expand the development impact of their LT-LEDS by moving beyond broad considerations of historically marginalized communities into detailed actions within sectoral planning processes and target setting. These considerations should be aligned with other development priorities, such as infrastructure updates or planning for enhanced financial access for communities. For instance, Ethiopia’s LT-LEDS aims to increase access to green jobs through a Women and Youth in Green Jobs Program. Strengthening the specificity of actions for inclusion fosters more sustainable and equitable development within long-term frameworks.  

  1. Adopt a Whole-of-Society approach to stakeholder engagement within the LT-LEDS development process.   

Engaging diverse stakeholders in the development of LT-LEDS, including sectoral line ministries, sub-national governments, civil society organizations, the private sector, communities affected by climate change, gender and youth stakeholders, indigenous peoples, and universities, among others, is essential. By engaging multiple stakeholder groups in the early stages of LT-LEDS development, countries can ensure that gender and youth entities are motivated, informed and engaged in policy development, enabling them to participate in subsequent phases of implementation. This practice lays the foundation for addressing diverse needs across society and promotes accountability in the long-term.   

  1. Utilize experts on gender and youth and strengthen the capacity of public officials.    

Involving gender and youth experts and representatives in the development and implementation of LT-LEDS is key to building in-house capacity for long-lasting change. Equipping public officials with the understanding and opportunity to promote gender and youth inclusion and considerations within their responsibilities will ensure sustainability within a whole-of-government approach to long-term climate action.   

  1. Use Monitoring and Evaluation to promote gender equality and youth engagement across the various stages of LT-LEDS design and implementation.  

Integrating gender equity and social inclusion into the monitoring and evaluation process is crucial for assessing the progress and impact of LT-LEDS over time. Many LT-LEDS do not currently mention monitoring and reporting mechanisms to understand how gender and youth considerations contribute to long-term transformation.   An example to highlight is Fiji’s LT-LEDS, which includes a monitoring and evaluation framework with gender indicators to better design, implement and measure results. Without due attention paid to measuring gender equality and social inclusion, the activities set forth in these strategies are at risk of falling short. Collecting and learning from this data will translate intentions into concrete actions needed for long-term development.  

  1. Incorporate the voices of diverse stakeholders in long-term planning through the Partnership’s Thematic Call mechanism. 

Among long-term planning requests for support received by the Partnership, only a limited number reflect country priorities on gender equality or youth engagement. There is a chance to improve the incorporation of gender and youth into long-term planning through the Partnership’s Thematic Call on LT-LEDs and NDC Alignment, Update and Enhancement and by utilizing resources like the Partnership Action Fund.  

Through the Partnership’s Thematic Call, countries receive early support to strengthen their planning processes, and ensure that the voices of women and youth are incorporated through implementable, realistic, and more ambitious NDCs.  The NDC Partnership is committed to increasing the capacity and involvement of diverse stakeholders in shaping national climate priorities and NDC development. To learn more, read our Gender Strategy and Youth Engagement Plan, and watch key highlights from our most recent annual Youth Engagement Forum.