LIMA, PERU (December 1, 2014)– Now in its sixth year, at COP20, WEDO on behalf of the Women Delegates Fund (WDF) hosted a two day training for women delegates, commonly known as the WDF ‘Night School’ as it is held in the evenings after the delegates’ preparatory meetings. Over 17 delegates from across 12 countries joined this workshop, which provided background to the UNFCCC process, rules of procedures and associated techniques to navigate and analyze legal language. This knowledge sharing session was followed by a Plenary simulation where participants were given the opportunity to put what they learned to practice, engaging in a mock negotiations simulation.

Ranging in experience from first-time delegates to veteran UNFCCC negotiators, there was a common reflection from the session of the critical need for these spaces to discern, understand, practice skills and network with other women delegates. Several delegates shared that they felt empowered to raise their flags on behalf of their countries for the first time.

On Saturday, Ms. Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, joined us to officially close the COP20 WDF Night School. With 20 years experience in the process, having witnessed slow but real shifts in the representation of women, and currently holding an incredible position of leadership within the process, Ms. Figueres shared some personal advice and experiences with the delegates. She emphasized how crucial it was to have all voices, women and men, coming together to develop an ambitious 2015 climate agreement.

In addition to the capacity building, at COP20 the WDF is hosting 12 delegates, from Nepal, Sudan, Liberia, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Yemen, Philippines, Malawi, Cameroon, Ghana, Tanzania, and Mozambique. WEDO is pleased to continue its relationships with delegates who have been part of the WDF in the past and thrilled to bring new delegates on board to create a strong presence of female leaders at the UNFCCC. The fund, which is made possible by the Governments of Finland and Iceland, is intended to support women’s full participation in leadership and decision making, and it builds on the individual capacities of the women delegates, strengthens negotiation skills, and provides a space for sharing, learning and networking.

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