UN Secretary-General Stresses that Women Are Major Agents for Progress on Climate Change

Ban Ki-moon1 December 2009: In his opening statement to the Women's International Forum held in New York, US, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted that, beyond being the most affected by climate change and other social problems, women must be recognized as principal agents in curbing global warming and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

He noted that, on average, women are expected to bear 70-80% of the impact of climate change on environment and livelihoods. Nevertheless, he also noted that women are often the custodians of local knowledge of food rationing, water harvesting and forest conservation, which are key for promoting climate adaptation, sustainable natural resources management and the family's wellbeing. He recalled the case of Bangladesh, which is making significant strides against poverty by empowering rural women economically through microcredit, and is committed to make the empowerment of women and girls a priority. With only a few days left before the opening of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, he stressed the need to ensure that women play an active role as decision makers to arrive at a fair and effective agreement.[UN Press Release][UN Secretary-General's Remarks]