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Celebrating Gender Day at COP26

Published: 09 Nov 2021 13:00

Pledge on climate change and inequalities.

Fourteen international leaders and leading campaigners are among those who have signed a statement launched by the Scottish Government calling for the role of women and girls to be advanced in addressing climate change.

The Glasgow Women's Leadership Statement on gender equality and climate change acknowledges the disproportionate impacts of climate change on women and girls. It also celebrates the role of women leaders at all levels in addressing the climate crisis, and commits signatories to increased support for women and girls’ climate action.

Women leaders including New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, US national climate adviser Gina McCarthy and German federal environment minister Svenja Schulze have signed the statement. Heads of state and government from Bangladesh, Tanzania, Estonia and Iceland, ministers from Belgium and Pakistan, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, and civil society leaders have also signed.

On Gender Day at COP26, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced further action on tackling the gendered impacts of climate change.

Chairing a panel discussion on women and climate, the First Minister said the Scottish Government will become a Commitment Maker as part of the Feminist Action for Climate Justice global coalition. The commitment includes:

  • enabling women and girls to lead a just transition to a green economy
  • increasing direct access to financing for climate solutions that promote gender equality
  • building the resilience of women and girls to climate impacts, disaster risks, loss and damage

The First Minister said:

“The fantastic response from women leaders since I launched the Glasgow Women’s Leadership Statement last week tells me that there is a huge appetite to centre women and girls in our climate action. I would urge other leaders to sign up so we can enable more women and girls to lead on the solutions we need to address climate impacts and promote gender equality.

“The engagements I have had with women young and old from the global south have made clear how important it is that when we think about climate justice, we also think about equality and how our actions can support women and girls.  I am pleased to confirm that the Scottish Government will become a Commitment Maker under the Feminist Action for Climate Justice coalition. This is a commitment to bold and transformative action to improve the lives of girls and women, recognising that their empowerment and leadership is essential to ensuring that global efforts to tackle climate change succeed.

“Tackling the climate crisis and delivering a just transition to net zero must go hand in hand – and women and girls must be central to that. The Scottish Government’s just transition plans will amplify the voices of under-represented groups, including women and girls, and actively work to create a better, greener future for everyone.”

Background

The Scottish Government is already working to support women and girls in countries that are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change through:

  • research on international climate justice, conflict and gender, which aims to build understanding of the impacts of climate change on traditionally disadvantaged communities
  • the Women in Conflict 1325 Fellowship Programme, which will shortly launch work on climate change, gender and conflict
  • the Women’s Environment Development Fund, which aims to help grassroots and indigenous women leaders to invest in and scale up climate solutions in global south countries

Jointly sponsored by the Scottish Government and UN Women, the Glasgow Women's Leadership Statement on gender equality and climate change commits to further strengthening efforts to support women and girls to lead on addressing climate change at community, national, and international level.

The statement will remain open for signatures until the 66th meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women, to be held in March 2022 with a focus on women’s empowerment in the context of climate change, the environment and disaster risk reduction.

Signatories include:

  • First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
  • UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women executive director Sima Bahous
  • Prime minister of Estonia Kaja Kallas
  • President of Tanzania Samia Suluhu Hassan
  • Prime minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina
  • Prime minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir
  • Prime minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern
  • US national climate adviser Gina McCarthy
  • German federal minister for the environment, nature conservation and nuclear safety Svenja Schulze
  • Belgium minister for development cooperation Meryame Kitir
  • Pakistan minister of state for climate change Zartaj Gul 
  • Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo
  • Executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and former US ambassador for global women’s issues Melanne Verveer
  • Former Canadian minister of environment and climate change and Women Leading on Climate campaigner Catherine McKenna

The UN Women Generation Equality campaign was launched in 2020 as a roadmap for gender equality. Six action coalitions came out of the Generation Equality Forum, including one on Feminist Action for Climate Justice.