Say yes to women’s participation in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – UN Women engagement at COP-18 in Doha


27 November, 2012 — Dubbed ‘Gender Day,' women's role in climate change agreements was in the spotlight on this second day of the 18th Conference of Parties (COP-18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Meeting in Doha, Qatar from 26 November to 7 December, governments are gathered to reach agreement on the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol and decide on outstanding issues under the Convention.

While often overlooked in debates about managing climate change and environmental resources, women have significant contributions to make. In agriculture and industry, in households and political decision-making, and through science and traditional knowledge, women have ideas and experiences, and are poised to drive positive changes. UN Women advocates for gender equality and women's empowerment as integral to mitigating and adapting to climate change, and achieving equitable and inclusive sustainable development.

The UNFCCC, in force since 1994, sets a global agenda for tackling climate change. With the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the Convention, State Parties committed to binding targets for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change by 2008-2012. With the looming expiration of the protocol, efforts are ongoing to reach a comprehensive and legally binding agreement on a post-2012 framework.

As governments now decide on a workplan to ensure the adoption by 2015 of a universal climate change agreement, UN Women is following the negotiations and maintaining active outreach to State Parties; this to ensure that decisions to be adopted at COP-18 incorporate references to gender equality, women's rights and women's contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

UN Women and its partners have stressed that any new climate agreement must be gender-sensitive. Women's concerns must be heard and their participation ensured. It should also be consistent with the principles of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); gender equity should be an integral part of implementation; and sex-disaggregated data should be used for policy design, monitoring and reporting.

A special edition on ‘Women and Climate Change' published today in Outreach, a multi-stakeholder daily publication led by the Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future, features a jointly written article by Lakshmi Puri, UN Women Deputy Executive Director, and Mary Robinson, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice.

Highlighting the essential part women have to play as active agents in the global response to climate change, the authors champion the tabling of a new decision at COP-18 that sets the goal of gender balance to improve women's participation and representation in negotiations. The idea is to send a clear political signal and provide the foundation for renewed commitment on advancing gender equality and women's empowerment.

Beyond the negotiations, UN Women is contributing to and participating in various events on women and gender equality, including UNFCCC's Momentum for Change Initiative, where a new pillar on “Women for Results will be launched. The project will showcase women as an essential part of the solution in addressing climate change. Ms. Puri will be participating in the launch of the initiative and in an interactive panel that follows.

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