Media advisory: UN Women at COP 21: Gender equality and women’s empowerment in the context of climate change


Media contacts
Sharon Grobeisen, +1 646 781-4753, sharon.grobeisen[at]
Oisika Chakrabarti, +1 646 781-4522, oisika.chakrabarti[at] 

Women are agents of change and leaders, and play a critical and often unrecognized role in climate action and the management of natural resources.

Women and girls are also disproportionately affected by climate change, which impacts them in areas such as food security, agricultural productivity, livelihood, water availability, sanitation, health and energy, among others. Applying a gender lens to climate change reveals solutions to seemingly intractable problems, and systematically addressing the persistent gender gaps in the response to climate change has proven to be one of the most effective mechanisms to build climate resilience.

Along with other events, on 8 December, the designated Gender Day at COP 21, the Government of Morocco will host a series of events under the headline: “Women: Active and Engaged in the Fight against Climate Change” at the Morocco Pavilion. The events aim to send a forward-looking message to COP 22, discussing the promotion of women entrepreneurs to accelerate sustainable energy access, women’s empowerment through climate-resilient agriculture, and women’s engagement in the climate-change negotiations. UN Women will co-host the event together with Morocco, which will hold the Presidency of COP 22.


4 December

10.30 – 11.45 a.m. COP21 Legislators Summit

Held jointly by the National Assembly, the national parliament of France and coinciding with the meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP), Lakshmi Puri, UN Women Deputy Executive Director will speak at the GLOBE International’s annual legislators’ summit, which will bring together 300 legislators from 67 countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The theme of this year's GLOBE Summit is 'Towards Coherence and Impact: The challenge of Paris and the Post-2015 agenda for a prosperous and sustainable world. The summit will weave together strands from this year's momentous summits on disaster risk reduction, finance, the sustainable development goals, Beijing+20, and climate change for an integrated approach to a uniquely challenging legislative agenda ahead in 2016.

Venue: National Assembly of France, Paris, France – Salle Victor Hugo (more information at:

8 December

10–10.30 a.m. The Gender and Climate Nexus: Setting the stage

Opening Remarks by Hakima El Haite, Minister Delegate in charge of the Environment, Morocco, and Segolene Royal, Minister of Environment, France (tbc).

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner will launch the joint Programme on Women’s Sustainable Energy Entrepreneurship and Access.

This initiative will support the promotion of gender-responsive sustainable energy plans and policies and removal of barriers to financing in six pilot countries: Senegal, Morocco, Myanmar, India, Indonesia and Bolivia to create enabling environments for women’s entrepreneurship and access to sustainable energy.

Venue: Morocco Pavilion, COP 21. Le Bourget Conference Centre Hall 6 (blue zone: accreditation required)

10.30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. High-Level Panel on Sustainable Energy Access

Today, about 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity and 2.9 billion use solid biomass for cooking and heating. Women’s voice and participation have been largely absent in energy policies. Yet women bear the disproportionate burden of energy poverty, including health and safety risks. A transition to sustainable energy requires a shift in the current paradigm from one where women are passive providers and users of energy, to one where they actively participate and take leadership in promoting sustainable energy technologies and their productive uses.

Venue: Morocco Pavilion, COP 21. Le Bourget Conference Centre Hall 6 (blue zone: accreditation required)

Yannick Glemarec, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women
Isabella Lövin, Minister of International Development Cooperation, Sweden
Ligia Noroha, Director of the Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, UNEP
Ahmed Baroudi, General Director, Energy Investment Company, Morocco
Naoko Ishii’s, GEF CEO and Chairperson (tbc);
Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, Chair of the Advisory Council on Climate Change, Indonesia

12.30–2 p.m. High-Level Panel on Women and Climate-Resilient Agriculture

Agriculture remains one of the most important areas of women’s work globally with more than a third of employed women in the agricultural sector. Yet women farmers face a number of key structural barriers that limit their access to land, information, finance, time-saving infrastructure, technologies and services, as well as markets.

In the absence of concerted efforts to address the gender gap in agriculture in the context of a changing climate, women farmers are at risk of being trapped in a downward spiral. Improving the climate-resilience of women farmers requires an integrated approach that simultaneously addresses land tenure security as well as access to other productive assets within the context of a changing climate.

Venue: Morocco Pavilion, COP 21. Le Bourget Conference Centre Hall 6 (blue zone: accreditation required)

Yannick Glemarec, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women
Frutuoso de Melo, Director General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission
Satya Tripathi, Director, UNORCID
Charafat Afilal, Minister Delegate in charge of Water, Morocco (tbc)
Pape Abdoulaye Seck, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment, Senegal (tbc)

2.30–4 p.m. Women’s Engagement in Climate-Change Negotiations, High-Level Exchanges and Reflections

Venue: Morocco Pavilion, COP 21. Le Bourget Conference Centre Hall 6 (blue zone: accreditation required)

Yannick Glemarec, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women
Pascale Boistard, State Secretary for Women’s Rights, France
Mara Marinaki, EEAS Principal Adviser on Gender
Catherine Coutelle, Chair of the Women's Rights Delegation of the National Assembly Fathia Bennis, President of Women’s Tribune, Morocco
Driss El Yazami, President of the National Human Rights Council, Morocco

During COP 21 and until Jan 4, 2016 Photo Exhibition at the Musée de l'Homme

Venue: 17 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, Paris
Commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and supported by UN Women, Magnum photographers show powerful images of climate solutions, providing compelling examples of climate action worldwide. The exhibit includes photos from UN Women projects on renewable energy in Liberia.


Events at COP21 premises are open only to accredited media. More information at: