LIMA, PERU (December 9, 2014) — On Tuesday, December 9th, COP20 in Lima hosted the UNFCCC’s 3rd Gender Day where all parties and constituencies involved used the day to host activities emphasizing the links between gender and climate change, with a strong call for action to all parties to advocate for gender equality.
The day began with a breakfast meeting with the Network of Women Ministers and Leaders for the Environment that presented participants with the Beijing Platform for Action +20, and also included a presentation on the Sustainable Development Goals and the status of the progress made so far to integrate gender into the SDGs. While some members of the WGC attended this breakfast meeting, others attended the ceremonial tree planting event at the San Borja Park that was dedicated to WEDO co-founder, friend and ally, Wangari Maathai.
Press conference 1- WATCH
Members of the Women and Gender Constituency launched events for the day with a Press Conference framed around, Achieving Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights on a Just, Equitable and Healthy Planet. The WGC found it most appropriate to use gender day as an opportunity for ‘renaming and reframing’. Members of the constituency engaged in various events throughout the day emphasizing the urgency for gender equality. The press conference urged parties to acknowledge that gender equality and women’s human rights are at the core of a just, equitable and healthy planet. Panelists included Sabine Bock, Women in Europe for a common Future (WECF); Ana Rojas, Global Gender and Climate Alliance; Mrinalini Rai, Global Forest Coalition; Priscilla Achakpa, Women Environmental Program; Liane Schalatek, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung North America; and Tetet Lauron, IBON International.
High-level event on Gender and Climate Change
The UNFCCC High-level event on Gender and Climate Change was opened by COP President H.E. Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal. Mary Robinson, in her capacity as United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Change, delivered an inspirational talk that focused on next steps for the gender and climate change movement. Quoting Dr. Wangari Maathai, Mary Robinson challenged the audience to act on gender equality.
Climate Change Studio
WEDO’s Bridget Burns and Sabine Bock from WECF make a strong case for the urgency to understand women’s rights as human rights. The interview recognizes the space that gender equality advocates have created in the UNFCCC process to address the social dimensions of climate change, through illustrating the clear links between women’s rights and human rights, which has raised awareness of this issue. Through the interview, Bridget Burns and Sabine Bock discuss the importance of bringing local realities of communities to the halls of the COP; however, one of the greatest challenges they identify is the disconnect between the perspectives of the negotiators and the perspectives from communities who are actively working on the grassroots level. The full interview may be viewed here.
Several other Constituency members also gave interviews which can be found here.
Press Conference 2- WATCH
In the second press conference of the day, members of the WGC spoke From the Ground to the Conference Hall – Actions and Demands for Women’s Rights and Climate Justice. Panelists included, Alina Saba, Mugal Women’s Uplift Institute; Nafisah Abubakar, Rural Women Energy Security Program; Kalyani Raj, All India Women’s Conference; Agnes Otzelberger, CARE International; Osprey Orielle Lake, Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network; and Carmen Capriles, Reacción Climática. The panelists presented some of their organizations’ research, and in their capacity, reflected on their different experiences to make specific demands to parties and negotiators in hopes for a climate just agreement.
UN Women- Ms. Lakshmi Puri joins the Women and Gender Constituency
Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary General of UN Women, joined members of the Women and Gender Constituency, including delegates and civil society, to discuss concerns and opportunities for engagement on gender equality and climate change issues. The event allowed members to speak to their local experiences and to identify leveraging opportunities moving forward.
To wrap up the events of Gender Day, IUCN, UNDP, WEDO and UN Women hosted a cocktail event that brought together various parties, constituencies and individuals to applaud advancements made towards gender equality, and to encourage continued action toward a gender-responsive post-2015 agreement.