Global Gender and Climate Alliance Meeting Discusses Support to Women to Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change

20 November 2008: A press conference on issues relating to

gender and climate change was held on 20 November 2008, at UN Headquarters, New

York, US, to recap a two-day meeting organized by the Global Gender and Climate

Alliance (GGCA) on how women could receive financial support for their

activities to mitigate or adapt to climate change.

Panelists included: Aira

Kalela, Head of International Affairs at the Ministry of the Environment of

Finland; Monique Essed-Fernandes, Interim Director of the Women's Environment

and Development Organization (WEDO); Janet Macharia, Senior Gender Adviser at

the UN Environment Programme (UNEP); and Liane Schalatek, Associate Director of

the Heinrich Böll Foundation in North America. Noting that women are

“indispensable” to addressing the impacts of climate change, Kalela emphasized

the need to recognize their role as decision makers in the negotiations on a

post-2012 climate agreement. She highlighted that Finland supports the GGCA

through awareness-raising and capacity-building activities, and indicated her

country's commitment to the EU target of reducing emissions by 20% by 2020.

Kalela underlined the linkage between climate and poverty reduction issues and

urged advancing agreed targets for development cooperation.

Macharia explained

that the GGCA focused on capacity building and would hold its first session on

this topic in Poznan, Poland, in December 2008, to train about 20 partners in

integrating gender into climate talks. Essed-Fernandes regretted still having to explain why women “must be at

the forefront of climate change efforts,” underscoring that they were not

“victims” but “leaders to offset the negative impacts of climate change.” She

emphasized that the Alliance would look at targeted financing mechanisms and

noted the opportunity for governments and the private sector to find common

solutions during preparations for the Climate Conference in Copenhagen in

December 2009.

Schalatek called for “double mainstreaming” for equitable

development, which incorporates gender and financing issues and emphasizes the

high costs of mitigation and adaptation. On climate financing, she noted that

environmental financial mechanisms, such as the Clean Development Mechanism,

have had limited benefits for least developed countries and women due to their

lack of capital and market access. The GGCA was created by the UN Development

Programme (UNDP), UNEP, IUCN and WEDO, and aims to ensure that climate change

policies, decision making, and initiatives at the global, regional and national

levels are gender responsive.

The Alliance was formally launched at the UNFCCC

Conference in Bali in December 2007 and gathers representatives from

non-governmental organizations, civil society, international organizations and

governments. [UN

Press Release]