International Women’s Day: “The urgency demands phenomenal leadership which women repeatedly demonstrate”
UN Climate Change High-Level Champions for COP27 and COP28, H.E Ms Razan Al Mubarak and Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, along with our Global Ambassadors, explain why women's equal participation and leadership in political and public life are key to accelerating the race to a net zero and resilient world.
By Charlotte Owen-Burge, Editorial Lead, Climate Champions | March 8, 2023
H.E Ms Razan Al Mubarak, President of the IUCN and UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28.
“Women are a central part of their communities, and the backbone of their families. They are the key decision makers about food, fuel, child rearing – including education, health, and family planning – and land, household, and resource management. They also, unfortunately, constitute the majority of the world’s poor – and they’re most impacted by the twin threats of climate change and loss of nature. But in the highest level of representation – where their leadership is most needed – their voices are largely absent. Today – and every day – the best way to celebrate women is not only to include and elevate their voices, but to nurture them as leaders. The future of our planet depends on it.”
Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, Executive Director, International Monetary Fund; United Nations Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda & UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP27.
“There is an urgent need to consolidate and intensify the efforts to ensure women’s inclusion in the just transition to a climate-resilient future. This needs to be facilitated through promoting gender-sensitive perspectives within adaptation and mitigation responses, leveraging opportunities for women within the just transition to the green economy and green consumption habits and within the blue economy in the context of achieving sustainable development, and promoting educational and behavioural change on women and climate change.”
Dr Susan Chomba, Director, Vital Landscapes, WRI. Global Ambassador, UN Climate Change High-Level Champions.
“Equal participation of women in political and public life is not a favour being extended to women. It is a prerequisite for enhancing equity, accountability and legitimacy of any decisions affecting us. Women are found in every sector that will be needed to achieve a net zero, more resilient and just world. They are innovators, entrepreneurs, educators, landscape restorers, scientists, farmers, activists, and many more. We must recognize and address the historical and existing barriers that have created an unequal playing field for women, preventing them from taking full advantage of opportunities and making meaningful contributions in our society, economy and the planet.”
Sarah El Battouty, Entrepreneur and Architect, founder of ECOnsult Green buildings, Founder of MuBun Upcycled furniture and Again Florists recycling flower waste. Global Ambassador, UN Climate Change High-Level Champions.
“We cannot address the climate challenge if it is isolated from those who need solutions. Women are at the forefront of development calling for equitable, accessible and relevant policies and ground work. Race to Zero is an integral part of communities and governments moving forward and cannot be decoupled from livelihoods, therefore it is imperative that leadership be inclusive. Womens’ leadership has proven to be the backbone in all the circular and green building work we do, driving positive change and innovation for purpose. We are now competing to save our planet and the urgency demands phenomenal leadership which women repeatedly demonstrate.”
Dr Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change & Development. Global Ambassador, UN Climate Change High-Level Champions.
“In Bangladesh we are changing the narrative of women from being victims of climate change and investing in our young girls to make them into the next generation of climate change champions who will not only help Bangladesh tackle climate change but also share that knowledge with the rest of the world.”
Racquel Moses, Chief Executive Officer Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator. Global Ambassador, UN Climate Change High-Level Champions
“The world that we have now, is one that is both beautiful but also broken, a direct result of hundreds of years of exclusion. For too long we’ve lacked a representative perspective on our future. Taking action on climate and meeting the sustainable development goals involves empowering women and girls to have an increased role in political and public life. The issues of parity and equity in gender are a key challenge that we must overcome together so that we may best tackle global issues with a holistic, comprehensive approach. Representation matters, in education, decision-making, innovation, entrepreneurship in everything!”
Paul Polman, Business leader and campaigner. Global Ambassador, UN Climate Change High-Level Champions.
“Evidence shows that companies with more women on their Board go faster on climate and deliver better financial results overall. If the moral case for empowering more women in business isn’t enough – and it should be – the financial and climate arguments are also now crystal clear. It’s better ethics, better economics and better for the environment – only a dinosaur would argue with all three.”
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Climate and Energy Lead, COP20 President and Former Minister of Environment for Peru. Global Ambassador, UN Climate Change High-Level Champions.
“All climate action must go hand in hand with improved gender equality. The catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis are likely to affect women and girls more acutely and exacerbate previously existing patterns of inequality and discrimination. Unequal access to resources, political power and mobility also mean women are on average less able to adapt to climate change or to influence efforts to tackle the crisis and build resilience. Women from around the world have been leading the calls for accelerating climate action and the race to net zero, but more must be done to empower women and girls and to expand their meaningful participation in, and leadership of, climate and nature related discussions, institutions and policy-making.”
Feike Sijbesma, Former CEO Royal DSM, Chairman Royal Philips, Co-Chair Global Climate Adaptation Centers, Founding Chair CEO Climate Leaders. Global Ambassador, UN Climate Change High-Level Champions.
“I strongly advocate more diversity and celebrate every day as International Women’s Day. I do not want to live and operate in a world dominated by men. Also it would not be smart neglecting half of global talents: women. I have a strong belief, based on personal experience, that diverse teams with men and women operate better, are more creative and innovative and so more successful. More inclusion is needed as a prerequisite for more diversity. The world needs to address climate change, both by mitigation as well as adaptation. Only men and women together can accelerate that.”
Read more about our High-Level Champions and Global Ambassadors.