Gender-sensitive conference planning

Global NDC Conference 2019 Berlin: Day 2, Breakout Sessions

This blog post was originally posted at the International Climate Initiative’s (IKI) website on 12 March 2020.

Inclusive events form the foundation for integrative, sustainable and innovative solutions. The Global NDC Conference of 2019 shows clearly how such events can succeed.

A successful climate policy requires a wide range of ideas, competences and perspectives. The aspects of gender and social integration must therefore be increasingly mainstreamed into all global climate protection processes. This integration should start as early as the planning stage, since the diverse composition of the participants allows for a wider range of solutions, more integrative, sustainable and innovative.

Several IKI projects and international partners performed pioneering work during the organisation of the Global NDC Conference 2019, comprehensively integrating the topic of gender equality through a gender-sensitive approach to the concept of the event. In doing so, they relied on a strategy comprised of three parts: ‘Gender narrative’, ‘Gender voices’ and the ‘Anti-harassment policy’.

Global NDC Conference 2019, Berlin | © Gabriele Schlipf

 ‘Gender narrative’ served as an overarching framework. For the ‘Gender voices’ concept, a designated person ensured that gender links were established in each session. Gender equality issues were thus woven into the whole conference and not just into individual thematic sessions. The ‘Anti-harassment policy’ ensured that the conference became a platform for the productive exchange of views for every participant, regardless of gender, gender identity, age, religion, appearance, sexual orientation, origin and physical limitations. Participants, who felt uncomfortable or harassed in this regard, could turn to two contact persons. The organising team reserved the right to exclude participants from the conference as a sanction.

The gender strategy not only helped to breathe life into the issue of gender equality at the conference, but also played an important role in the preparation of the event. For example, the ‘Gender Voices’ concept was used to identify key stakeholders as gender voices and to train them for their task, which was to consciously present gender-specific perspectives during the conference through specific questions, or the exchange of examples. The organisers drew up a set of guidelines to ensure a gender-sensitive and balanced list of participants  and addressed the special needs of those with young children by offering childcare services, for instance.


The gender-sensitive and integrative Global NDC Conference of 2019 shows how a gender-specific perspective can be introduced into event planning. The gender strategy can be easily adapted so that project managers can ensure equal rights and equal access to resources for all participants, enabling us to achieve more ambitious climate goals for the future together.

The Global NDC Conference 2019 was joint effort by leading initiatives. It was made possible with the support of many donors and partners. To mention a few, the conference was hosted by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) at the then German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) and included contributions by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Main organisers comprised the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH through the programmes “NDC Assist” and “Support Project for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPA)”; the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through its NDC Support Programme; and the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN).