Women for results: climate change initiatives highlighted at COP-19


The devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is yet another reminder that of the urgency of acting on climate change and reducing carbon emissions without further delay. It is also the stark reality of the human dimensions of climate change.

Women and men not only have differing vulnerabilities to the adverse impacts of climate change, but they also possess distinct knowledge, experiences, perspectives and capabilities that make them essential contributors to adaptation and mitigation efforts. Moreover, the areas where women play a central role – food security, sustainable agriculture, energy, livelihoods, health, natural resource management and use, among others – are those most directly impacted by climate change. Yet too often, the gender dimensions of climate change continue to be overlooked.

As the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-19) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meets in Warsaw, Poland (11-22 November 2013), UN Women continues to advocate for the adoption of a comprehensive, universal and legally binding climate change agreement by 2015—one that is necessarily gender-responsive, and therefore transformative.

On the occasion of the UNFCCC-designated ‘Gender Day’ on 19 November 2013, UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri met with six selected ‘Lighthouse Activities’ winners of the Momentum for Change – Women for Results initiative, which was launched at COP-18 last year by UNFCCC and the Rockefeller Foundation. Starting this year at COP-19, it aims to recognize concrete actions that demonstrate the critical leadership and participation of women in climate change efforts.

From creating jobs for young women through the building of high-quality bamboo bicycles in Ghana to Australia’s “1 Million Women” movement to take action on climate change through small steps that save energy, reduce waste, cut pollution and lead change, the six showcased lighthouse activities inspire increased motivation to effectively build on a low-carbon and highly resilient future.
Importantly, they already show measurable results with positive spillover effects. Encouraged by their work, Ms. Puri invited each lighthouse activity to be replicated and scaled up at local, national and international levels, including in collaboration with UN Women.

At COP-19 and in other intergovernmental processes, UN Women has stressed that the world cannot afford to ignore the voices, needs and priorities of half of the population in policies and action on adaptation and mitigation, capacity-building, technology transfer, climate finance, and all other aspects of the climate change response. Whether in global discussions or in actions on the ground, women’s contributions, participation and leadership in this area are of paramount importance.