Monday, December 6, 2010

COP Day 7

A meeting of women leaders! 

A photo with Mary Robinson who is former president of Ireland and president of the Mary Robinson Foundation. 

Climate Change Solutions: The Superpower of Women and Ideas

Women are the most vulnerable to climate change but the best poised to be agents of change. Today, we attended a side event about women and leadership!  The panel of powerful leaders was chaired by Mary Robinson (President Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice) and included Christiana Figures, Connie Hedegaard, Lykke Friis, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, and Patricia Espinosa.  The panelists suggested a multi-faceted response to climate change that includes —mitigation, adaptation actions, education, ending poverty.

Lykke Friis (Danish Minister for Climate and Energy and Minister for Gender Equality) began by quoting Margaret Thatcher, “if you want something done, ask a woman!” She stated that women are not at top of climate negotiations but are hit hard by climate change so need to be empowered. Women are key to beat climate change and poverty by first beating energy poverty since 1.4 billion people lack access to electricity. 

Christiana Figures, Executive Secretary of the COP began by stating that she is “particularly pleased to see young people in the audience.” Young women must be completely empowered to do work to fight climate change.   Women still cook with open fires so are directly contributing to climate problem with uncontrolled black soot.  Christiana stated, “Women are the most vulnerable population in the world—in charge of procuring water, cooking, walking to collect fuel wood, growing food.  We educate our children in sustainable or unsustainable behaviors.”   In terms of vulnerability, we have a huge role as part of the solution. 

Patricia Espinosa (President of COP16) said, “Women have a greater role in international relations than ever.  We must bring a gender perspective to the many issues that are being discussed in Cancun” Gender issue is a central part of the process. Everyday there are more leading women in positions, but women are still underrepresented. 

Maria Fernanda Espinosa (Minister of Heritage from the Republic of Ecuador)
said that leadership is not only taking decisions at the highest level; leadership also relies on all of the power of women warriors struggling for their survival and the survival of their families.

Connie Hedegaard (European Commissioner for Climate Action) stated that people need to have stories that make climate more people-centered: gender perspective is so important. 

It was inspiring to hear from these accomplished women who are leading the fight for human rights in climate change. 

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