Speaking at the Women and Climate Change Symposium in the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, Mary Robinson, highlighted the need to ensure that women’s voices are heard and their priorities supported.
Mary Robinson, President, Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, delivered a keynote address at the symposium on women and climate change which coincided with the launch of a report produced by the Institute entitled “Women and Climate Change: Impact and Agency in Human Rights, Security, and Economic Development”.
Women are disproportionally vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, but their participation in decision making at all levels of climate action remains limited. The inclusion and involvement of women in decision-making is not only a fundamental right, but it also results in positive outcomes for men and women and for the planet.
Mary Robinson stated that “too often women are categorised as vulnerable with little acknowledgement that they can – and already do – offer solutions. We know that women can be powerful agents of change. Women across all sectors of society are already leading the way in efforts to build resilience and adapt to the impacts of climate change.” Enabling women’s meaningful participation is central to the development of gender-responsive climate action.
Praising the publication of the report Mary Robinson emphasised the important contribution it makes to the discourse on women and climate change. Mary Robinson also highlighted the fact that not enough is being done to document best practice in enabling women’s meaningful participation in climate actions, and challenged participants to “help us make the case for women’s participation – we need more documentation and research to prove the benefits of women’s participation”.
Mary Robinson’s keynote address was followed by a panel discussion and an interactive Q&A session with the audience. The discussion was chaired by Ambassador Melanne Verveer and included Mary Robinson, former President of Finland Tarja Halonen and Radha Muthiah, CEO of the Clean Cookstoves Alliance.