A HARASSMENT-FREE CONFERENCE EXPERIENCE FOR EVERYONE
CONTEXT AND INITIATIVE
In 2019, the two projects NDC Assist (BMZ) and the Support Project for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (BMU) organized an international climate conference in Berlin, the Global NDC Conference. The conference aimed to inspire and empower participants to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement by accelerating the implementation of their national climate targets, the NDCs. Thus, participants had the chance to exchange views in over 40 breakout sessions on good country practices, learning experiences and new approaches in the areas of transparency, governance and financing. Aside from those three main topics, gender was included as a cross-cutting issue. Based on the thematic discussions on the linkages of gender and NDCs, a comprehensive Gender Strategy for the conference was established.
CONCRETE MEASURES & ACTION TAKEN TO ADDRESS SEAH
The Conference Gender Strategy should ensure that the topic is not only discussed in terms of content, but moreover that it is already “lived” at the conference itself. Therefore, the strategy consisted of three parts: (1) the broader gender narrative, which served as the overarching policy, (2) the concept of Gender Voices, which ensured that gender linkages were made in every session, by having one person as a “Gender Voice” in each session and (3) the anti-harassment policy. The Anti-Harassment Policy was provided to every participant in the conference folder. It emphasized that the conference should be a space for productive exchange for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity, age, religion, appearance, sexual orientation, origin, physical limitations and so on. Participants who felt uncomfortable or harassed could approach two designated contact persons, and the organizing team reserved the right to expel participants from the conference. The policy also provided information on local contact points (including the hotel, the police and a local helpline) in case one experienced harassment, wanted to report or seek help.
RESULTS AND IMPACT
In general, as a result of the Conference Gender Strategy, participants were sensitized to the topic of gender and especially Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (SEAH). Having such a strategy and policy in place should encourage participants to raise their voice and address harassing behavior, if and when it occurs. At the Global NDC Conference, this resulted in the reporting of one case, which would not have been addressed had this policy not been established. Thus, such a policy can contribute in the medium and long term to breaking the taboos on (sexual) harassment in the climate community and ensure a harassment-free conference experience for everyone.
Anna Kühnel (NDC Assist)
Pauline Probst (SPA)
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