Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) has announced two major partnerships as part of the COP21 climate negotiations. The partnerships, with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the World Energy Council, will help forward the role of women in sustainability. WiSER, a partnership between Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, and the Zayed Future Energy Prize, focuses on empowering women and girls to lead on developing solutions for sustainable future. WiSER provides a platform for women to share ideas and develop knowledge, innovations and commercial solutions directly relevant to key industries driving sustainability.
The announcements coincided with a high-level event hosted by WiSER held on 7 December that sought to discuss and understand women’s role in leading on combating climate change.
Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of Sustainability at Masdar, and Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, explains:
“Through WiSER’s partnership model we are able to engage with leading experts and offer opportunities for women to be a fundamental pillar in creating a more sustainable future. The foundations that the initiative was built on was one where people and organisations create platforms by which education, exposure and experience can take place under a holistic eco-system. It is this interconnectivity that affords women the chance to be the foundations of a clean energy future and the drivers of sustainability.”
UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christina Figureres, said about the partnership between WiSER and UNFCCC:
“Women are very much at the center of climate change. Not only are women disproportionately affected by climate change in poorer countries but are also part of a knowledge economy, often underused, that can lead to robust and effective solutions in the future. I would like to thank Masdar for its support with the secretariat’s Momentum for Change: Women for Results pillar. This allows us to highlight women’s efforts in addressing climate change on a whole new level.”
The WiSER initiative and Momentum for Change share a common theme; empower and inspire women to be catalysts of innovation and drivers of new companies and commercial solutions that secure access to energy, water and food while mitigating climate change. The Momentum for Change initiative has had great success with ‘Women for Results’ and the partnership with WiSER will help ensure that this is taken to the next level in the future.
The Partnership between WiSER and World Energy Council consists of a mentorship program for women that lasts for one year. This mentorship will put fundamental principles of WiSER into practice; specifically education and knowledge-exchange.
Marie-José Nadeau President of the World Energy Council, spoke about the pilot program partnership:
“Education and training are key elements that form the basis of WiSER and help women take action in regard to renewable energies. This mentorship program will form a foundation to help ensure that this happens increasingly moving forward.”
The event convened under WiSER on 7 December consisted of two panels focused on women’s involvement in climate change and included a cross-section of industry-leading experts. The event was enhanced by Tunisian Nobel Peace Prize winner Wided Bouchamaoui, who provided remarks to the participating stakeholders and a keynote speech delivered by the pilots of solar impulse.
Panel one, focusing on women’s role in sustainable development and mitigating climate change, was moderated by Malini Mehra, Chief Executive, Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE), and included Dr. Lamya Fawwaz, Executive Director of Public Affairs at Masdar Institute of Science & Technology, Robin Chase, Founder and CEO, Buzzcar, Hela Cheikhrouhou, Executive Director, Green Climate Fund and Yannick Glemarec, Deputy Executive Director of the Policy and Programme Bureau, UN Women.
The focus of the second panel was the role of women’s networks and was moderated by Michael Liebreich, Chairman of the Advisory Board, Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Participating in this panel was Marie Jose Nadeau, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Secretary General of Hydro-Québec; Chair of the World Energy Council; Vice-Chair of the Zayed Future Energy Prize Selection Committee, Mindy Lubber, President, Board Member and Co-Founder, Ceres, Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of Sustainability, Masdar, and Monica Araya, Founder & Director of Nivela.
In addition to the two panels a discussion and exchange was held under WiSER’s Renewability debate program that involved students of Masdar Institute talking about their time at Masdar City, their studies, and thoughts on what has taken place at COP21. This was then followed by students from France who study in science related programs talking about their own experiences in this field. It was announced that these students from France will join ADSW, ensuring that the high-profile international event taking place in Abu Dhabi in January becomes the next step on the path beyond COP21.
The WiSER initiative strives to redefine the role of women in the fight against climate change. It seeks to ensure that Women are drivers of change, and their voices significantly impact innovation and breakthroughs -- in policy, technology and business entrepreneurship. Though education, experience and exchange WiSER plays a critical role in giving women the tools to be a vital component in tackling the most critical questions that are posed at COP21.