Women in the Leads for Action Against Climate Change 

December 5, 2023

Women continue to drive ambitious climate action more​ than everywhere, including in their communities, cities, countries, and regions, said UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed during the COP 28 Gender Equality Day.

“Women stand at the forefront of the climate battle. Whether as scientists, legislators, indigenous leaders, youth activists, they are fighting to keep the 1.5 degrees Celsius target alive,” said UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed in her video remarks.

In a panel discussion, women panelists said that they will be closely tracking the progress in climate negotiations at COP28, particularly on the issue of funding for just energy transition, ‘phasing out’ of fuels and ‘phasing in’ of clean energy.

“The rights of women and girls must be at the center of climate action, including here at COP28. We must ensure that women have a seat at the decision-making table,” said UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous. 

“We must strengthen inclusive decision-making so that the voices of feminists, youth, indigenous and other grassroot movements can be heard loud and clear from the local to the global level,” she added.

Jemimah Njuki, Chief of Economic Empowerment at UN Women that despite women not having the resources, there are actions led by women and girls. “ If we can give them the resources – including the financial resources – to do more, I think our world is going to be better for it,” she added.

According to the International Labor Organisation (ILO), 40 % of the global labor force, that is 1.2 billion jobs, are at risk due to global warming and environmental degradation. Women are expected to be most severely affected due to their high representation in sectors that are affected by climate change.

Greg Puley, climate lead for the UN Humanitarian Affairs Office, OCHA, said that the climate crisis is not “gender-neutral.” He urged donors and humanitarians to remain “laser-focused” on the differentiated needs of women and girls in the aid response.

During the day, COP28 launched a Gender-Responsive Just Transitions & Climate Action Partnership centered around three core pillars: better quality data to support decision-making in transition planning, more effective finance flows to regions most impacted by climate change, and education, skills, and capacity building to support individual engagement in transitions.

The partnership has been endorsed by over 60 Parties that have made commitments to be implemented over the next three years before reconvening at COP31.

“Climate change is not gender-neutral – it disproportionately impacts women and girls. Already, the climate crisis amplifies existing gender inequalities and poses a serious threat to women’s livelihoods, health, and wellbeing,” said  UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28 Razan Al Mubarak.

“To deliver a just transition, we must reform the architecture of the global financial system and ensure finance flows to the regions and the people who need it the most. But we must also invest in women’s economic empowerment to ensure no one is left behind,” she added. 

It is expected that by mid-century, climate change could push up to 158 million more women and girls into poverty globally which is 16 million more than the total number of men and boys.

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