ABU DHABI - Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), and the “Mother of the Nation”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC), the General Women's Union (GWU) and UN Women Liaison Office for the GCC, launched the Climate Change and Gender Equality initiative.
The initiative is aligned with UAE's efforts and preparations to host the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The initiative includes holding talks aimed at enhancing the level of awareness about the connection between gender and climate change. Speakers from various public and private institutions and organisations will participate in a series of sessions. Best practices will be reviewed, knowledge exchanged, and effective solutions will be proposed on priority issues covering gender issues and their relationship to climate change.
Topics covered will include the disproportionate impacts of climate change on women and girls, including increased vulnerability to natural disasters and food insecurity, the role of women in driving and participating in climate-related activities and decision-making processes, taking into account the unique needs and perspectives of women and girls.
On this occasion, H.H. Sheikha Fatima said that the UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and Their Highnesses the Sheikhs, Members of the Supreme Council and Rulers of the Emirates, is keen to support global efforts to confront the repercussions of climate change and is aware of the importance of involving women as an active and influential partner in the global climate change drive, which it reflected on the strategic position of the UAE, as the country has become a global platform for discussing climate change issues, and ways to speed up the energy transition, in line with the world's climate change developments.
“As we prepare to host COP 28 this year, the UAE is committed to ensuring that this COP will achieve progress and produce in concrete results to confront climate change, as it is the most significant challenge facing humanity. The UAE is keen to involve women to contribute effectively to supporting national efforts to enhance environmental preservation and reach sustainable solutions for the benefit of future generations, and here the UAE confirms the continuation of its approach and its pioneering model in the field of women's rights and belief in its creative abilities and inspiring energies in all sectors and fields,” she explained, adding that the UAE will continue in its approach to guaranteeing women’s equal rights and their full participation in all sectors, by leveraging their leadership skills, creativity and capabilities.
H.H. Sheikha Fatima continued, “We are pleased to launch the Climate Change and Gender Equality Initiative, which will witness a rich set of discussions and proposals, reflecting the growing global awareness about the connection between gender and climate change, and the shared vision of various public and private organisations regarding the need for cooperation and agreement to reach appropriate solutions and explore solutions."
For his part, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, expressed his thanks and appreciation to H.H. Sheikha Fatima for her patronage of the Climate Change and Gender Equality initiative, and for her essential and pivotal role in supporting women as a key partner in the comprehensive development march of the UAE, noting that women have become a partner in our successes and a pillar for the sustainability of our national achievements in all fields.
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah said that the participation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in launching the initiative stems from its belief in the pivotal role that women play in all fields and for being one of the pillars of the development vision that leads societies to prosperity, especially in the field of combatting climate change, which has become an existential challenge, and requires the concerted efforts across all segments of the community to take concrete action, and find appropriate solutions that contribute to overcoming challenges and securing the future for generations to come.
He referred to the UAE's firm commitment to advancing gender equality and enhancing the role of women in society, and their vital role in promoting climate action, and in making the country's aspirations in this important field a success, especially as the country prepares to host COP28 next November in Dubai Expo City.
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah noted that Emirati women play a significant and active role in climate action, as Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, is supervising the implementation of the UAE’s plans and strategies in the areas of climate change, the environment, and food and water security. Moreover, he added, Shamma bint Suhail Al Mazrouei Minister of Community Development, has been appointed as the Youth Climate Champion, Razan Al Mubarak, as COP28 UN Climate Change High-Level Champion, which confirms the UAE leadership's confidence in women's contributions to efforts to contain the climate change fallout.
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah underscored the UAE's commitment to promoting and developing alternatives to fossil fuels, by investing in renewable and green energy, as the UAE hosts the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and has multiple international partnerships in this field, a testament to the UAE's status an active partner in global efforts to address climate change.
In this context, Noura Al Suwaidi, Secretary-General of GWU, said, "The UAE has made unremitting efforts to support and empower women in all fields and sectors, including climate action, after it involved women in formulating strategies to confront climate change, and gave confidence to the daughter of the Emirates, Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, to lead the ongoing efforts of the UAE in this regard.
She emphasised that the General Women's Union, under the directives of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, and in cooperation with its strategic partners, is working to launch initiatives that enhance the country's efforts in the field of climate action, and bolstering women's participation in the climate change action system.
For her part, Dr. Moza Al Shehhi, Director of the UN Women GCC Liaison Office, stated, “Gender and climate change are intertwined, and women and girls are often the most affected by the impacts of climate change. Gender balance must be a key component to address this global crisis and to ensure a sustainable future for all."
She added, “We are always pleased with the distinguished partnership of UN Women with the United Arab Emirates, which contributed to the launch of the Climate Change and Gender Balance initiative.”
The initiative represents a unique opportunity for individuals to learn about the vital role of women in combating climate change and how a gender-inclusive approach is integral to the success of all climate actions and interventions to ensure that they are accessible, equitable, and effective for all.