THE WOMEN ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK (WECAN) SOCIETY FOR WOMEN ENVIRONMENTAL ENTREPRENEURS AND TRADERS (SWEET) FAIR VENUE: THE GREENLANDIC HOUSE –COPENHAGEN, DENMARK DATE: 7-18 DECEMBER 2009 THEME: WOMEN AND CLIMATE CHANGE Introduction: Empowerment of women makes grassroots work more effective. Climate change is a very serious threat to sustainable development and will endanger the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Developing Countries. Influencing climate change is directly linked to poverty reduction/eradication. It is of absolute importance that parties reach a comprehensive new climate agreement during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Convention of Parties (COP) 15 event in Copenhagen, Denmark 7-18 December 2009. Influencing climate change will require full commitment, participation and action by both women and men. The most important measures to mitigate climate change will involve the use of renewable energy, reforestation and the halting of the rate of deforestation especially in the Amazon of South America and the Congo Basin of Central Africa. In many developing countries adapting to climate change will affect agriculture, food security/food self sufficiency, water security and other climate related sectors. Regenerative ecological/organic agriculture can also provide better mitigation tools to combat climate change. In many developing countries, women are traditionally responsible for performing these functions. In the continent of Africa, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates that 80% of food production in managed by women usually in the informal sector. Why Women’s Contribution are Very Vital: An analysis of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates that the worst impacts of climate change will be on the poorest regions and countries (Most Vulnerable Countries (MVCs) and the poorest people (Most Vulnerable Groups (MVGs). These are the countries or people who have the fewest of resources for meeting the challenges brought by increasing droughts, floods, storms and other climate related disasters. Up to 70% of the MVGs are women. This means that women will have to struggle with the impact of climate change hence they are always victims of climate change. However women are and can also become active/positive/powerful agents of change. Empowering women in planning and decision making processes as well as implementing measure to adapt and mitigate climate change will make our shared and common vision/efforts more essential and effective especially at grassroots levels. What is needed for Women’s Empowerment? The Women Environment and Climate Action Network (WECAN) seeks to provide a platform to draw the attention of the positive role of women within and outside the UNFCCC process and the new climate change agreement to come out of Copenhagen in December 2009. It is important that the new agreement and the UNFCCC activities supporting its implementation must encourage the participation of both women and men at all levels. Likewise it is also important that the activities of financing institutions, the United Nations (UN) agencies, national and international organizations and other key stakeholders must support women’s efforts to influence climate change. In order for women to contribute actively, men and women need to understand the process of climate change and share information on how to counteract its negative impact. It is essential that women are provided with equal access to the skills, experience, knowledge, resources and technology which is necessary to influence climate change. It is also important that women participate more actively at all levels within the negotiation and outside the negotiation in shaping new comprehensive agreement on climate change and a pathway to a low carbon and green global economy. What WE CAN Do Together? The Women Environment and Climate Action Network (WECAN) urges governments, national and international organization, financing institutions and other stakeholders to cooperate and: • Ensure that both men and women delegates are nominated to the climate meetings with developed countries (Annex I) supporting developing countries especially Least Developed Countries (LDCs) , Small Island Developing States (SIDS), African Countries etc representatives (men and women) go to these meetings • Include climate change, gender and women as an important agenda of relevant high level meeting such as the International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment and Leadership in Monrovia, Liberia, 7-8 March 2009 convened by President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson of Liberia (the first and only Africa woman president) and President Tarja Hallonen of Finland • Draw active attention to women and gender related impacts of climate change and the active/positive/powerful role women are playing and could play in influencing climate change in the negotiation of the new climate agreement and outside the UNFCCC process. • Allocate funds and encourage the financing institutions , UN and other national and international organizations to support women and men in influencing climate change and to contribute effectively and efficiently at all levels such as through sustainable agriculture, forest and water management, increasing the use of renewable energy and other mitigation and adaptation measures/efforts. • Invite Annex I and Developing countries to pay active attention to women’s role in climate change in their bilateral cooperation between parties and to provide financial support for women and gender specific programmes. • Ensure that women and gender concerns are mainstreamed into the UNFCCC and other processes of climate change at all levels. Some Best Practices: • It should note that some countries such as the Government of Finland through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been supporting women’s participation within and outside the UNFCCC process. This has been evident through the Women Delegate Fund (WDF) which supports the participation of women delegates of developing countries to UNFCCC negotiation events. The Government of Finland also organized the Climate Change and Gender workshop during the International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment and Leadership in Monrovia, Liberia in collaboration with the Government of Liberia. • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as approved the Women and Gender Constituency under the NGO Observance process, this is also seen as a positive step by the UNFCCC to recognize the need and role women and gender groups can play in effecting the fight to combat global climate change and its negative impacts. • The People’s Climate Forum , The City of Copenhagen and Government of Denmark has also organize for the first time in the history of the UNFCCC, COP event an alternative forum with a specific focus on women and climate change. It is hoped that from the COP 15 event in Copenhagen and beyond this trend would be maintained to ensure that women and gender concerns of climate change are taken into consideration inside and outside the UNFCCC process to help in the global fight to combat climate change at all levels. • As a follow up of the COP 15, WECAN shall offer a platform to celebrate and promote best practices in women and gender concerns on climate change. For More Information, Please Contact: Ms Rosemary Olive Mbone Enie, Geologist/ Gender Ambassador CEO/President SWEET Africa Foundation/ Coordinator/Initiator WECAN/SWEET Fair C/O Action Against Climate Change (AACC) Liberia, 23 MacDonald Street, Monrovia, Liberia Tel: 2316242236/ 231 6937552 Email: Website: