COP18: We must ensure women are represented at COP

COP18 (27/11/12) – Mary Robinson, founder of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice says we need to realise how central strong gender policies and women’s empowerment will be to tackling climate change.

She talks about the release of a new book which shares women’s stories of climate change and offers a new narrative. She stresses that millions of people are already dealing with climate change – the majority of which are women – and are already learning how to adapt.

She uses the example of Uganda, where it is women who have to work to put food on the table when climate change undermines food security and says that they are very smart at finding new ways to deal with shorter seasons.

She calls for a new decision to be taken by the COP which will ensure the gender balance of all negotiations across to board, from country delegations to the Green Climate Fund and the Technology Committee. While there are some strong women in the climate negotiations, Robinson stresses that the vast majority of delegations are still men led by men.

She says it is crucial to change the narrative on climate change and says it is about those people who were affected by Superstorm Sandy in the US or current flooding in the UK, but stresses that these countries have insurance and national programmes of aid, while in poor countries these impacts wreck families and communities. It is the women who have to rebuild these communities, she says.