The high-level majlis titled “Arab women leading the way in energy and climate change” was jointly hosted by the Directorate of Energy and Climate Change at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice and Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.
Held on the sidelines of World Economic Forum in the UAE, the session highlighted the active engagement of women leaders across the Gulf and Arab region in addressing climate change and promoting sustainable development. The panelists additionally explored ways to enhance women’s participation at COP18 and identified gender-climate outcomes that women would like to see from the negotiations.
Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change and Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said: “With the UN climate change negotiations being held in our region for the first time, the GCC will receive significant international attention in the coming weeks. Women are an integral part of our society. Empowering women, will, without a doubt, equip them with the ability to take on an active and participatory role in advancing sustainable development and addressing climate change concerns.
“In line with the directive of our wise and visionary leadership, the UAE has achieved great strides towards empowering women: Today, nine out of 40 members at the UAE Federal National Council are women. It’s equally noteworthy that the UAE women constitute 66 per cent of the public sector workforce, 30 per cent of which are senior decision makers.”
Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, director of Energy and Climate Change at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and president of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, and Dr. Nawal Al Hosany, director of Sustainability at Masdar and director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, headlined the event as keynote speakers.
Addressing the women’s majlis, Mary Robinson said: "Women’s contributions – political, economic, social and environmental - are central to tackling the global challenges we face today. Women can play an important role in bringing about positive societal transformations. For this reason, there is a real need to catalyse women’s leadership as gender equality and women’s empowerment will contribute to a more just world for all."
"COP 18 provides an important opportunity for the region to show leadership on climate change. There is renewed hope that next month in Qatar, countries can agree to act together to take positive action on climate change and embrace a new model of development, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions, builds resilience to climate change and delivers sustainable development for all," Robinson added.
Moderated by Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, member of the Federal National Council and Chief Executive Officer, twofour54, the panel included Dr. Amal Al Ghaferi, Faculty, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology; Audrey Choi, Managing Director and Head, Morgan Stanley Global Sustainable Finance; Beatrix Schmülling, CDM Implementation Team Leader, Masdar; Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Executive Director, Institute for Human Capital Development (IDHC), Zayed University; Eng. Maryam Al Balooshi, Environment Manager, UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), and Sarah Al-Dorani at the COP18 Presidency Team.
Held for the first time in the GCC region, the COP18 offers a valuable opportunity to highlight the positive achievements of the region with regards to women’s education and empowerment in the context of clean energy and climate change. This year, the Conference of the Parties will specifically look at ways to integrate women’s participation in addressing the UN’s mandate of tackling environmental issues such as pollution caused by countries’ industrial emissions.