On the eve of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Climate Summit, UN climate envoy Mary Robinson and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the head of UN Women, are gathering with some 130 other women leaders to show their commitment to climate action.
Mrs. Robinson, Mr. Ban’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, and Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director, are hosting the event which aims to highlight women’s participation and partnerships to raise ambition for climate action.
“Women and girls are on the front lines of climate change,” Mrs. Mlambo-Ngcuka said in a press release. “This event is a chance for their voices to be heard, and UN Women will carry their perspectives forward to the Climate Summit.”
Mr. Ban’s Climate Summit, on 23 September, is expected to draw more than 120 Heads of State and Government who will commit to concrete initiatives and provide significant momentum for a global agreement on tackling climate change.
“In climate change, we are facing the biggest challenge to human rights of the 21st century; this warrants an urgent transformation in leadership that is supported by all peoples in all nations,” Mrs. Robinson said.
The event tonight will feature a keynote address from Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile and founding Executive Director of UN Women.
There will also be an opportunity for the women leaders, who include Jordan’s Queen Rania Al Abdullah, the First Lady of Peru, Nadine Heredia de Humala, and Elder Graça Machel, to discuss climate topics in a roundtable format. They will be joined by women leaders representing civil society and the private sector, academics and indigenous peoples.
“I do believe that climate has to be an issue that women and young people and the very poorest have their voices heard,” Mrs. Robinson told the UN News Centre last month.
A former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, she has said that climate change is not just an issue of atmospheric science but of human rights and fundamental justice.
“I want us to think about the injustice of how climate is affecting those who are least responsible. And affecting them severely, reversing some of their development,” she noted.
“We need to make a special effort to focus more on adaptation but also on the future we want - which is a future that has renewable energy, zero carbon emissions, and better health, better light, better energy, better job prospects for everybody.”