The first official Gender Day to be held at a Climate Change Conference took place yesterday and it set the bar high for future COP Gender Days. With a trio of well organised and high profile events, two of which were attended by COP18 President Abduallah
The first official Gender Day to be held at a Climate Change Conference took place yesterday and it set the bar high for future COP Gender Days. With a trio of well organised and high profile events, two of which were attended by the COP18 President Abduallah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah, there is no doubt that Gender is firmly on the agenda for Doha’s COP18.
It was appropriate that yesterday’s events coincided with discussions in the formal negotiations on gender equality and the need to strengthen women’s representation and participation in the UNFCCC. In the main plenary session, the European Union proposed that the existing decision on women’s representation be strengthened at COP18. This proposal received support from a number of Parties including Iceland, Chile, Switzerland, Senegal and Bangladesh.
The first high profile gender event taking place was the launch of the COP17 President’s Legacy project, Thuto ya Batho or ‘Teachings from my People’.
The launch was moderated by Ambassador Mxakato-Diseko, South Africa’s Ambassador at Large for Climate Change and opening remarks were made by COP17 President, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. Also speaking at the event were Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC and Mary Robinson, President of the Foundation.
A surprise guest at this event was COP18 President Mr. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah and the baton was firmly passed from one COP President to the next to continue promoting gender equality in the COP. “We are in an unusual situation, we are usually saying ‘first woman’ but you are the first man” said Christiana Figueres, referring to the fact that Mr. Al Attiyah will take on the role of COP President after a chain of women COP Presidents. He promised all those in attendance at the event that he would work hard to listen to women.
“I know our team is 7 billion, we have one challenge and we have to work for this challenge” he said. Minister Mashabane launched her Legacy project on women and climate change adaption. The initiative was commended by Mary Robinson who said “women are already taking action to adapt to climate change every day.”
In the afternoon, the Global Gender and Climate Alliance, in partnership with a number of other gender and climate focused organisations, held a three hour event on Gender and Climate Innovation.
Mary Robinson with UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, H.E. Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Tha and COP18 President Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah
The event commenced with a high level opening discussion by three members of the Troika+ of Women Leaders on Gender and Climate Change. Ms. Christiana Figueres, Mary Robinson and Hon. Albreu, Minister of Environment, Mozambique, spoke about who and what inspires them to work on gender and climate change.
Christiana Figueres spoke passionately about how she is motivated to push for action by her two daughters and the eyes of future generations looking back asking what did we do.
“Whatever we do today will affect the quality of their lives and their children and several generations down the line.”
Mary Robinson spoke about Cecilia Kibe as her example of a climate innovator. Cecilia, who works for the Kenya Climate Justice Women Champions, attended Gender Day to inject a grassroots women’s voice into the discussions.
The UNFCCC Secretariat hosted the final high profile gender event of the day “Gender and Climate: Moving Beyond the Rhetoric”. Panellists at the event included Her Highness Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of Sustainability at Masdar and Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director-General.
During the interactive dialogue, Mary Robinson, reflecting on Sheikha Mayassa’s reference to the special lens that Qatar has on many issues, said “it would be enormously helpful if that special lens could be a lens of integrating gender balance into the Convention”.
One thing is clear. Gender Day at COP18 has set a high standard for future climate change conferences.
The Gender Dimensions of Food and Nutrition Security in the context of Climate Change
– the Foundation Video published on Gender Day, 27 November 2012