Side Events convened on Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Presented by Iceland

L-R: Jato Sillah, Minister for Forestry and Environment of Gambia; Ulla Tornaes, Minister for Development Cooperation of Denmark; Sherry Ayittey, Minister for Environment, Science and Technology of Ghana; Svandís Svavarsdtóttir, Minister for the Environment of Iceland; and Paula Lehtomäki, Minister for Environment of Finland.

Svandís Svavarsdtóttir, Minister for the Environment, Iceland, stated that it is imperative to integrate a gender perspective into all aspects of climate change. She called for representation by women at all levels to increase the active participation of women in finding a solution to climate change. Women, she affirmed, are not victims, but agents of climate change whose role in developing and implementing mitigation and adaptation must be increased.

Sherry Ayittey, Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, Ghana, stated that because women’s lives are inextricably connected to natural resources, they are most affected by climate change. To empower women as agents of change, she said, requires: including women in decision-making processes; improving women’s access to natural resources; increasing female education levels; and providing training on climate change.

Jato Sillah, Minister for Forestry and Environment, the Gambia, explained that his country’s efforts on climate change are driven by the National Climate Committee. He stated that the percentage of women on the Committee has greatly increased since its establishment and that its work is focusing to a larger extent on women’s concerns.
Ulla Tørnæs, Minister for Development Cooperation, Denmark, highlighted the negative effects of climate change on efforts to promote sustainable development. She referenced research showing that existing inequalities are exacerbated by natural disasters. She concluded by urging participants to continue to promote gender as part of the COP agenda.

Paula Lehtomäki, Minister for Environment, Finland, summarized the event’s message and announced her country’s support for women’s participation at the COP. Participants discussed gender equity in climate financing, women’s involvement in the UNFCCC negotiations, and the establishment of a women’s fund for climate adaptation.

Source: IIDS-Earth Negotiation Bulletin
Nina Bjork Jonsdottir (Coordinator)

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