• Masdar’s Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) initiative hosts series of COP27 events to amplify voices of women and girls in global climate debate
• UAE’s Sheikha Shamma Al Nahyan joins global industry leaders and policymakers for WiSER Wisdom Series dialogue on intersection of gender and climate
• Masdar has invested 1 GW of clean energy in Africa, which could power over 845,000 homes
Masdar, one of the world’s fastest-growing clean energy companies, and its global Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) initiative, this week held a series of high-level discussions to raise global awareness and support for women as powerful catalysts of sustainable change on the sidelines of the 2022 United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP27).
With a sharp focus on Africa, WiSER convened regional and global leaders Monday for a panel discussion on key issues at the intersection of gender and climate change, which began with a keynote address by Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Executive Director of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators (UICCA), the Middle East region’s first non-partisan climate action think tank.
Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan said: “It was an honor to collaborate with WiSER this week to amplify the voices of women and girls at COP27. As the UAE looks forward to hosting COP28 next year, I am encouraged by WiSER’s efforts to raise global awareness and support for women and girls at the forefront of the net-zero transition. The UAE and UICCA are committed to continuing this important work with WiSER and our partners in Africa and around the world to help secure an inclusive and sustainable future for all.”
Throughout COP27, WiSER also promoted its global #IAmWiSER campaign to encourage policymakers, industry leaders, and climate stakeholders worldwide to press forward with initiatives to build a more inclusive and sustainable future by pledging their support for women at the forefront of efforts to tackle climate change.
Global policymakers and industry leaders have taken the #IAmWiSER pledge, including the UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Special Envoy for Climate Change, and Chairman of Masdar, H.E. Dr Sultan Al Jaber; UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, H.E. Mariam Almheiri; Permanent UAE Representative to the UN, H.E. Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh; and Co-Chair of UN-Energy, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), and Special UN Secretary-General SEforALL Representative, Ms. Damilola Ogunbiyi of Nigeria.
UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Special UAE Envoy for Climate Change, and Chairman of Masdar, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, said: “The UAE has long recognized that women represent an equal share of the global population and is committed to ensuring that they have an equal voice in the dialogue on climate action. This is especially important in areas such as Africa and the global south, where women are bearing the brunt of climate change. Through our global clean energy powerhouse Masdar and its WiSER initiative, we are working constantly to empower women to generate more equitable and effective climate solutions, and COP27 has provided the ideal platform to amplify their voices to the world. I look forward to building on this success at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week next year, and to seeing this positive momentum carry through to COP28 in the UAE.”
Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) is a global initiative, established by Masdar in 2008, to accelerate sustainable development and advance economic, social, and environmental progress, in line with the UAE’s long-term vision and commitments. Taking place 14–21 January, ADSW 2023 will be next year’s first major sustainability gathering, bridging the gap between COP27 and COP28 by convening global stakeholders to take stock of progress on commitments and continue to engage on bold climate action and practical innovation.
Elsewhere on the sidelines of COP27 this week, a WiSER Wisdom Series panel, “Gender Challenges to Climate Change,” featured The Gambia’s Honorable Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Fatou Kinteh; Director of Decarbonization and Sustainable Energy at the UN’s Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Mr. Tareq Emtairah; Head of Institutional, Strategic, Private & Gulf Partnerships at Plan International, Mr. Mohamed Kamal; CEO of Siraj Power, a UAE-based provider of solar power solutions across the Middle East and Africa, Mr. Laurent Longuet.
Honorable Minister Fatou Kinteh of The Gambia said: “The WiSER Wisdom Series COP27 panel was an important opportunity to engage in collaborative, frank conversation about challenges to building an equitable, sustainable future in communities across The Gambia, specifically, and Africa more broadly. It is critical that we continue to work together with organizations like WiSER to facilitate a global dialogue that meaningfully considers the unique challenges and opportunities facing women in diverse communities across Africa.”
Another WiSER Wisdom Series panel, “Design and Implementation of Inclusive, Community Energy Systems,” featured young women who shared insights from their experience participating in WiSER’s first field-based course in Rwanda, completed in August as part of the platform’s new WiSER Cares initiative to equip young women in rural off-grid communities with the knowledge and skills to harness the potential of practical clean energy technologies.
Masdar Executive Director of Brand and Strategic Initiatives, and WiSER Program Director, Dr Lamya Fawwaz, said: “Across the world, women are starting new companies and innovating new technologies that are catalyzing meaningful sustainable change for their families, communities, and countries. At COP27, it was my privilege to shine a spotlight on these women while also working with our partners in Africa to inspire more to join them in advancing positive climate action. From now, through to ADSW, COP28, and beyond, WiSER will continue to sow these seeds of empowerment so more women can unleash their full potential.”
In line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 5 and 7) concerning gender equality and clean energy access, respectively, WiSER also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in September with Plan International Spain (SPNO), an independent development and humanitarian organization working in more than 75 countries, including in Africa, to advance children's rights and equality for girls. In the MoU, WiSER and SPNO agreed to pilot programs worldwide to accelerate sustainable development by empowering women and girls through educational, skills-training, mentorship, and internship opportunities, with a special focus on the global south.
SPNO Chief Executive Officer, Concha Lopez, said: “We urge all states to raise responsible and active citizens through ambitious transformative education that enables children, especially child girls and adolescents, to be prepared, to adapt and to mitigate the impacts of this crisis, as well as to participate in climate action and in the green economy. We share this vision with WiSER, an internationally reputed platform which also works towards a world wherein all girls are empowered to maximize their potential as innovators and leaders of sustainable change.”
Across Africa, Masdar and its partners are also helping to accelerate sustainable socioeconomic development with over 1 gigawatt (GW) of clean energy projects capable of delivering electricity to over 845,000 homes in Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, and the Seychelles. Globally, Masdar’s clean energy projects displace close to 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.