Women Activists Call for Engaging, Empowering Women in Global Climate Action at 21st Edition of WSDS


World Sustainable Development Summit.

Climate change affects every person on the planet but studies have proven that it affects women more.

NEW DELHI — Senior women climate activists, including the key architect of Paris Climate Agreement, called for engaging women and youth and empowering them to participate in global climate action as they remotely addressed the 21st edition of the World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS).

During the plenary session on ‘Women Leadership and Our Common Future’, Rachel Kyte, who held senior climate positions at the World Bank and United Nations, now dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, urged women to pave the way for other young women. “We’ve come a long way. We stand on the shoulders of so many women who have forged a pathway for us. Now it is our responsibility to provide strong, broad shoulders for those women who are in need and open a door for them,” she said.

Kyte was speaking at a plenary session on ‘Women Leadership and Our Common Future’ during the second day of WSDS 2022. During her address, she recalled her time at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. She shared how much Kyte and her fellow female activists, including Bella Abzug and Wangari Maathai, struggled to negotiate their terms on sustainable development for women and children. “Since then, we’ve seen extraordinary activism by women across the globe pushing back at the boundaries of how we understand sustainable development,” Kyte said.

Climate change affects every person on the planet but studies have proven that it affects women more. According to UN data, around 80 per cent of people displaced by climate change are women. Given their role as the primary caregivers and as the leading providers of food and fuel, women are more vulnerable when flood or drought occur. This reality was recognised in the 2015 Paris Agreement, which demanded more representation of different actors, primarily women, in the climate decision-making. Today, from boardrooms to policymakers, from science to activism, women are using their voices to take charge and call for actions on climate change.

Laurence Tubiana, the French diplomat who formulated the 2015 Paris agreement, now chief executive of the European Climate Foundation, said, “women are leading climate leadership at the rebellious front as well where they are putting pressures on governments, global leaders, policymakers to take concrete steps towards climate change.”

Pressing the issue of women ecofeminism, Tubiana further said, “We must continue to support women ecofeminism as they are speaking with great determination. Globally, due to deforestation and urbanisation, 14 per cent of women are getting more and more affected. The worst sufferers are pregnant women who have to deal with air pollution and other carbon emissions. We, therefore, need more and more women in the parliament and as policymakers who can relate with the issue and devise sustainable development policies which are safe for women.”

The plenary session was also attended by Helen Clarkson, Chief Executive Officer, The Climate Group, Kate Hampton, CEO, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Mercy Wanja Karunditu, Deputy Executive Director, The Green Belt Movement, and Xiye Bastida, Co-founder, Re-Earth Initiative. — IANS

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