Cancun, Mexico — The WEDO team has been very busy here in Cancun over the last week and a half. From side events, meetings, and press conferences to coordinating the GGCA (Global Gender and Climate Alliance) advocacy team and the Women Delegates Fund (WDF); WEDO is striving to ensure gender issues and women’s leadership/ participation are forefront at all levels of these climate negotiations. Here are some highlights from our work so far:

Gender language in key decisions

During the first week of COP-16 the GGCA advocacy team, made up of a diverse group of women from every region around the world, achieved great successes. Such successes were especially seen within the two Subsidiary Bodies (SBs), which give advice to the Conference of Parties and have specific mandates.

The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) houses the Nairobi Work Programme (NWP), which assists countries in assessing impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change.  In its decision at COP-16 the NWP will assist parties in enhancing the capacity of relevant stakeholders, including women, to better utilize the tools of the NWP.  Under the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) in matters concerning Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG) extended its mandate to provide technical guidance and advice on gender-related considerations within LDCs.

With these new decisions on gender in the SBs capacities of parties can be supported by the SBs to specific work on gender issues.  It is a great achievement for women around the world and the advocacy team is certainly celebrating such a great achievement.  Of course, the work is not done.  We look forward to having similar achievements as countries continue to negotiate a post-2012 agreement.

Advocacy team at planning session before the start of the COP16

Key contact for the Advocacy Team: Rachel[at]wedo.org

Side Events and Press Conferences

WEDO staff have participated in a number of side events and press conferences. On Monday, Dec. 1, WEDO’s Interim Executive Director Monique Essed-Fernades, participated in a side event entitled “Healthy Women, Healthy Planet: Women’s Empowerment, Family Planning, and Resilience.” The event focused on the critical connections and effective strategies to link women’s empowerment and family planning in climate change responses.

On Thursday, Dec, 2, Monique spoke at a press conference highlighting the achievements of the Women Delegates Fund (WDF). She was joined by: Magdy Martinez-Soliman, UN Resident Coordinator, and Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Mexico, Aira Kelala, Special Advisor, Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA),Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland, and Patience Damptey, Gender and Environment Consultant, Delegate of Ghana, WDF Recipient. You can watch the press conference here.

On Monday, Dec 6, WEDO’s Cate Owren spoke at a side event presented by Oxfam International and the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA) entitled “Funding the Future? Establishing a Fair Climate Fund in Cancun“. The event discussed the urgency of defining a new and fair global climate fund at COP16 that will help developing countries adapt to climate changing. Highlighting the importance of gender consideration in this area, Cate emphasized that gender issues are inextricable from climate financing, stressing that funding must be balanced in gender representation.

L-R: Cate Owren, WEDO; Evans Njewa, Malawi; Tim Gore, Oxfam; Alex Morales, Bloomberg; Alcinda Abreu, Mozambique; and Judith McGregor, UK. Picture (c) IISD.

Key Contact for press and communications: Bridget[at]wedo.org

Women Delegates Fund

The Women Delegates Fund has supported 11 women from developing countries to attend the negotiations here in Cancun. We kicked off the program at the beginning of the week with an intensive session on negotiation skills, facilitated by Ms. Mieke van der Wansem of the Fletcher School at Tufts University. The session covered important negotiation tools and concepts such as understanding the mutual gains approach, interests vs. positions, and having a strong BATNA (Best alternative to a negotiated agreement). Since then, we have held meetings each day for updates on the status of the negotiations, and information sharing between delegates on the impacts of climate change in their regions and their work to combat this at the national level. Other highlights have included a dialouge with female Paramount Chief (PC) Elizabeth Jelley of Juarzon Statutory District, Sinoe County, Liberia as well as other key members of the Liberian delegation in addition to a session with June Budhooram, UNFCCC Secretariat, Gender Focal Point.

The Women Delegates Fund (WDF) began in 2009 to support and increase the participation of women, particularly from Least Developed Counties, in the UNFCCC negotiations. The WDF is a project of the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA), through the support of the Government of Finland. The program is implemented by UNDP and administered by WEDO.

Women Delegates during training on negotiation skills

Key Contact for WDF: Bridget[at]wedo.org

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