Regional and international leaders in the energy and climate change sector convened in Doha to discuss the empowerment of women in the United Nations’ climate change negotiations. The meeting was hosted by Masdar, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Directorate of Energy Climate Change, and Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Change.
The meeting, which took place during the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) currently being held in Doha, Qatar, highlighted the lack of gender balance in addressing climate change and the need to secure ministerial support to reinforce women's participation in the negotiations and representation bodies established under the Framework Convention or the Kyoto Protocol.
COP 18, which is being held for the first time in the GCC region, provides an excellent opportunity to highlight the positive achievements of the region in relation to the education and empowerment of women in various fields, including the clean energy sector.
Citing the role played by the UAE government in empowering women, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change and Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said: “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. The UAE is committed to empowering women through various platforms including the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Women’s Initiative, as part of the Clean Energy Ministerial.”
A draft decision on gender inclusion in the UN negotiations has already been approved at COP 18 by the Subsidiary Body for Implementation as a first step towards increasing women’s leadership in addressing climate change.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany director of sustainability, Masdar, said: "Climate change is one of the most pressing global concerns of our time. Men and women alike have a responsibility to play an active part in the dialogue and movement to address climate change.”
"Today, we have a unique opportunity here in Doha to send out a strong message on gender inclusion in climate change negotiations. We need to work together in a cooperative spirit to identify and agree on concrete steps to empowering women as key actors in the solutions to mitigating and adapting to climate change,” she added.
Discussions were led by Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and President of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, His Excellency Fahad bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, chairman of the Organizing Sub-Committee and member of the Organizing Supreme Committee; COP 18; Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany; Lakshmi Puri, assistant secretary-general of the United Nations. A number of ministers and dignitaries from Ireland, Japan, Finland, Iceland, Liberia, and Mexico have also participated in the discussion.
As part of the ongoing initiative to strengthen the role of women in the fields of energy and climate change, Masdar and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Directorate of Energy and Climate Change will be convening a panel discussion titled ‘The Role of Women in Future Energy: Breaking Down the Barriers’, on the side-lines of the inaugural ‘Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week’ in January. The five-day event hosted by Masdar will deliberate on energy, water, climate and related sustainability issues.
The UAE is an active participant in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change. In addition to its role in the negotiations, the UAE participated at the Qatar Sustainability Expo to highlight its achievements in the field of renewable energy and sustainable development. The pavilion was designed in the shape of the Masdar Institute’s buildings that are inspired by Islamic architecture and considered amongst the most sustainable buildings in the world.