ECOSOC Addresses Gender Aspects of Climate Change

23 July

2008: Opening the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) discussion on ‘mainstreaming

a gender perspective into all UN policies and programmes, women and

development, and the advancement of women,' Rachel Mayanja, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on

Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, noted the particular vulnerability of

women to climate change and the food crisis.

Mayanja outlined steps taken by the UN system in

mainstreaming gender equality, including with the creation by the Inter-Agency

Network on Women and Gender Equality, of a new task force on climate change. Kazakhstan

also emphasized the particular challenges posed to women by climate change and

the food crisis, and stressed the need to enhance women's capacities to provide

them access to microfinance. In the afternoon, Willene Johnson, expert member

of the Committee for Policy Development (US), opened a session that was part of

the ECOSOC's focus on ‘economic and environmental questions.'

On implementing

the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to sustainable

development, which was also the theme adopted for this year's Annual

Ministerial Review, she highlighted the impacts of climate change on

development and called for: addressing adaptation; developing new partnerships

between developed and developing countries; and providing access by developing

countries to funds and new technologies. Auxmite Gebre-Egziabher, Director of

the UN Human Settlements Programme Office in New York, then presented the UN Secretary-General's

report on Coordinated Implementation of the Habitat Agenda (document

E/2008/64). She highlighted the linkages between climate change, the food

crisis and unsustainable patterns of urbanization, and urged a focus on cities

in the climate change debate. Antigua

  and Barbuda, on behalf of the G77/China, and


underscored the linkages between climate change and the food and energy crises,

and stressed their impacts on the sustainable development agenda.

On biofuels, Cuba

stated that the use of food crops in the US and Europe had exacerbated the food

crisis. She called on developed countries to take the lead in the fight against

climate change and increase their official development assistance and, with

Pakistan, underscored the principle of shared but differentiated

responsibilities. Barbados

called on the international community to help small island developing States in

implementing their national plans and strategies. On the climate change regime,


called on developed countries to comply with their commitments and establish more

ambitious emission reduction targets. The Russian Federation welcomed the UN Commission

on Sustainable Development's (CSD) focus for its 2009 session on, inter alia, drought, desertification and

climate change. Pakistan noted that the international community had failed to

create a carbon-free development model and stressed the importance of

environmentally-friendly and affordable technology, an issue for the CSD's


The Maldives indicated it had established a consultative

mechanism with its development and trading partners that had examined national

adaptation to climate change and investment opportunities. The UN Educational,

Scientific and Cultural Organization explained it had established the Global

Sea Level Observing System and was implementing the Adaptation to Climate

Change in Coastal Zones project in a number of African countries. He outlined

partnerships with other UN partners, as well as efforts by its Intergovernmental

Oceanographic Commission in tackling and adapting to climate change. [UN press release,

23 July 2008]