COP26: Women are the most affected by climate change
After walking nearly 1,300 kilometers across Europe, Little Amal, a giant puppet representing a young Syrian refugee, arrived in Glasgow just in time for Women’s Day at the Climate Change Conference, COP26.
The 3.5-meter-tall living work of art stunned Tuesday’s plenary session attendees when she climbed the stairs and joined Samoan climate activist Brianna Fruean, hugging and exchanging gifts.
Brianna gave her a flower, which represents hope and light, and Amal, a bag of seeds.
“We have both embarked on a journey to get here, from two very different places, but we are connected by the common fact that we live in a broken world that has systematically marginalized women and girls. Especially women and girls from vulnerable communities. Fruean said.
The young activist reminded participants that the weight of the climate emergency, which amplifies existing inequalities, tends to affect women more.
“Amal brought seeds to share physically, to inspire; the seeds represent hope. The beauty of the seeds is that you have to be selfless enough to be content with the fact of not eating the fruit or not having the flowers, but feeling that It has been worth it knowing that your children will live with their beauty, “he added, using the seeds as a metaphor for the decisions being made at COP26 for the future of our planet.
Fruean stressed that the seeds need to be cultivated and nourished with water to bear fruit and flowers, inviting delegates to keep up their work after the conference.
“I will plant these seeds when our ministers are ready. I hope that in the negotiations and in the rooms you will be able to plant them and that, when we leave the COP, you will take care of them so that they grow and become the beautiful world that girls like Amal deserve. , one in which all girls are safe. “
OIM / Celeste Hibbert
The relationship between gender equality and the climate crisis
Conference President Alok Sharma spoke briefly, under the watchful eye of little Amal and Brianna Fruean.
“Today is gender day because gender and climate are deeply intertwined. The impact of climate change affects women and girls disproportionately,” she said, urging empowerment and support for women.
Little Amal, and the Syrian girls she represents, are not alone in their tragedy: 80% of people displaced by disasters and climate-related changes worldwide are women and girls.
Since ancient times, women have had a special relationship with nature. Their contribution to the well-being and sustainable development of their communities is enormous, as well as to the maintenance of the planet’s ecosystems, biological diversity and natural resources.
Women in developing countries are often the first to respond to managing the environmental capital around them. From collecting water for cooking and cleaning, using the land for grazing livestock, foraging for food in rivers and reefs, and collecting firewood, women around the globe use and interact with resources on a daily basis. natural and ecosystems.
According to him United Nations Development Program and other UN agencies, are also the first to feel the effects of climate change when they have to travel longer and longer distances to find what they need to feed their families.
Likewise, although the degradation of the environment has serious consequences for all human beings, it especially affects the most vulnerable sectors of society, mainly women, whose health is most fragile during pregnancy and motherhood.
And despite all this, the recognition of what women contribute or can contribute to the survival of the planet and to development remains limited. Gender inequality and social exclusion only increase the negative effects of unsustainable and destructive environmental management for women and girls.
The persistence of discriminatory social and cultural norms, such as unequal access to land, water and other resources, as well as the lack of participation of women in decisions regarding the planning and management of nature, often mean that the enormous contributions they can make are ignored.
PNUD/Ho Ngoc Son
A question of “justice”
“Addressing rapid climate change is a matter of justice and equality with the most vulnerable and affected, including indigenous communities, the least developed countries and our center of attention today and every day: women,” said the Speaker of the Chamber Representatives of the United States, Nancy Pelosi, to the COP26 delegates in another of the plenary sessions.
Pelosi, who noted that she had brought with her the largest congressional delegation to date to a COP, announced that by the end of the year they plan to pass legislation to double international climate finance.
“Rebuild better with women,” he added, addressing the female members of his delegation.
One of them was Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, known for being the youngest woman in the United States Congress and for her activism in the fight against climate change.
“The leadership that has brought us here will not be the one that takes us out,” answering the UN News question about why it was important for women to participate in the fight against climate change.
From Guyana to the Arctic, climate change affects women
Immaculata Casimero, an indigenous activist from the Wapichan nation in Guyana, knows better than anyone how climate change affects women, and that is why she works for their empowerment in her community.
“We hold training courses because we would like to see more women leaders. In local communities, most of the time there are only men. It is patriarchy and that is something that needs to be overthrown. We can lead better than men, we lead in our homes, we raise children. All humanity exists thanks to us, “he said during an interview with UN News.
Casimero also highlighted that indigenous women, as transmitters of traditional knowledge to new generations, have an extremely important role in the fight against climate change.
The crisis, which is already affecting their community of origin, claimed several hectares of cassava crops this year, their main source of income, due to the strong and unexpected rains; which also caused food insecurity.
“The sun is much hotter than before, you can feel it, and our people don’t know how to really adapt to the climate, because when there is supposed to be rain, there is sun and when it is supposed to be sun, there is rain. The whole farming system and agriculture is altered by climate change and we have no other resources to depend on, “he said.
On the other side of the world, the Sami people, an indigenous Finno-Ugric people living in the Sapmi region, which today encompasses vast areas of northern Norway, Sweden and Finland, are also suffering the effects of the climate crisis firsthand.
“Climate change in the Arctic is happening very fast. The weather is changing and it is very unstable, our winters are unstable, the ice does not freeze when it should. All our traditional knowledge on how to manage the landscape is also changing,” he described the young activist Maja Kristine Jama from the indigenous pavilion at COP26.
Her friend, Elle Ravdna Nakkakajarvi, had a few words for world leaders attending the conference:
“Really listen to us, do not say that you are going to listen to us, do not make empty promises because we are the ones who suffer climate change in our bodies and we have the knowledge about the lands and waters of our areas and we can provide solutions. We deserve that listen to us. “
UN News // Laura Quinones
Science confirms: we don’t do enough
Today also celebrates Science Day at the Conference and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has presented an analysis of its latest “Emissions Gap Report” taking into account the latest promises made since the conference began.
“We are not doing enough, we are not where we need to be and we have to take a firm step with many more measures and with urgency and with more ambition (…) there is also a leadership gap that we have to see closed before the end ”of COP26, highlighted the Executive Director of the Program, Inger Andersen.
The report originally noted that, with current national plans and commitments, the world was on track to reduce around 7.8% of annual greenhouse emissions by 2030, a huge gap from the 55% needed to curb global warming. at 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“Right now, when we review what we’ve gotten from commitments, frankly, it’s like an elephant giving birth to a mouse. We have to think if that’s enough or if we can stretch further,” he said, referring to the update of the national plans and commitments, which will only get the world to reduce emissions by 8% by the end of this decade.
“It is very good to see that countries embrace this and the conversations that had not taken place up to this point in Paris, and we appreciate and welcome this, but it is not good to see that the promises are generally vague, not very transparent; some deal only with the Greenhouse gases, other carbon-only gases (…) are difficult to calculate and account for. And of course, many of these remain in the pipeline beyond 2030, “added Andersen.