WLP Hosts Panel Discussion on Women Countering Climate Change

 

Women’s Learning Partnership and the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) co-hosted a panel discussion at the 2016 United Nations conference on climate change, known as the COP22, in Marrakech, Morocco. The event, titled “Women’s Leadership as Key to Countering the Impact of Climate Change,” drew an audience of over 50 civil society representatives and marked WLP’s first presence in the global dialogues and activism on gender and climate change. WLP also presented an exhibition booth for the duration of the COP22 in collaboration with WLP Morocco/Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM) and WLP Senegal/Groupe d’Initiatives Pour le Progrès Social (GIPS/WAR). 

The 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, commonly referred to as COP22, brought together international political leaders and activists from November 7 to 18, 2016, to discuss plans to combat climate change and to reflect on the progress of previous landmark agreements—the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the 2015 Paris Agreement to prevent the rise of global temperatures. 

 
 

Panelists for “Women’s Leadership as Key to Countering the Impact of Climate Change” included:

Eleanor Blomstrom (USA), co-director/head of office at Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)
 
Rabéa Naciri (Morocco), professor at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities in Rabat and founding member of the Democratic Association of Moroccan Women (ADFM)
 
Julie Cissé (Senegal), Coordinator for Groupe d'Initiatives pour le Progrès Social (GIPS/WAR)
 
Soon-Young Yoon (USA), UN representative for the International Alliance of Women and board member of Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)
 
 

WLP’s event examined various aspects of women’s roles in climate change advocacy, including:

  • The role of legal reform in furthering women’s empowerment, 
  • The  importance of a gender perspective in disaster risk reduction related to climate change, 
  • The role of rural women as actors and drivers for reversing the negative impact of climate change, and 
  • The need for international collaboration on advocacy for gender equality and against climate change. 

Julie Cissé of WLP Senegal, Rabéa Naciri of WLP Morocco, and the Moroccan National Council of Human Rights joined representatives from WEDO Eleanor Blomstrom and Soon-Young Yoon to present insights and strategies for developing women’s agency to combat the negative effects of climate change at the local, national, and international levels. 

Soon-Young Yoon highlighted the growing role of major cities and smart policies in deciding the future of climate change. “Biofuels used in cooking and heating cause environmental health problems for women and children,” she remarked. “Clean cooking stoves can reduce city air pollution and climate vulnerability and the cooking energy sector can offer jobs for women.”

The event and the presence of WLP’s resource booth in the exhibition hall inspired new interest in WLP’s leadership programs. Several women’s organizations in Marrakech requested support from ADFM to implement leadership workshops for their communities. 

The success of WLP’s activities at COP22 strengthened WLP’s network and role in bringing gender issues to the forefront of advocacy and policy discussions on climate change. ADFM also plans to continue its efforts to promote discourse around gender and climate change and has developed a related training module for its youth leadership program.  

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