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Environment Minister: African women are essential partners in achieving sustainable development

The twenty-seventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Climate Change Tunnels (COP27) witnessed the launch of Women’s Day, in the presence of a number of Arab, African and international women leaders.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi sent a message to the women of the world in his speech delivered on his behalf by Her Excellency Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, Ministerial Coordinator and COP27 Climate Conference envoy: “My message to the women of the world is that they have demonstrated unique strength and wisdom in facing the Covid-19 pandemic crisis that has ravaged the world over the years. The last three, and we count on you now to continue your lofty and noble role in light of the certainty that women will be the icon of change to achieve a historical and qualitative transformation in facing the repercussions of climate change.

The envoy of the climate conference, on behalf of the President of the Republic, also stressed that achieving any tangible progress in the file of the repercussions of climate change will not be without achieving climate justice for all, which undoubtedly constitutes the full inclusion and involvement of women in various aspects of cooperation with this phenomenon, which must be reflected in securing their needs. Within the framework of strategies, programs and financing plans concerned with climate change, which in turn can contribute to encouraging women to actively participate and play a leading role in facing these repercussions and in finding smart and innovative solutions in this context.

The opening session of Women’s Day witnessed the presence of a number of Egyptian female ministers, including Dr. Hala Al-Saeed, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Nevin Al-Kabbaj, Minister of Social Solidarity, Dr. Maya Morsi, President of the National Council for Women, and Dr. Ghada Wali, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the Office United Nations Drugs and Crime.

The opening of Women’s Day also witnessed speeches by Dr. Sima Bohuth, Executive Director of the United Nations Women’s Commission, and Dr. Maya Morsi, President of the National Council for Women, who gave a detailed presentation of the “African Women and Climate Change” initiative, explaining its objectives and desired results. Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, the United Nations Special Envoy for the 2030 Financing Agenda, also delivered a speech.

In her opening speech for Women’s Day, Her Excellency Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, Ministerial Coordinator and Delegate to the COP27 Climate Conference, emphasized the support of Egyptian women leaders. She singled out Dr. Hala Al-Saeed, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, who participated in organizing the Solutions Day, and Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, for her contribution to supporting the Contributions Plan. Nationally defined 2030. And Dr. Maya Morsi, who was supporting us and looking at links to enhance the environment with a focus on women and has many initiatives for women awaiting implementation.

The Ministerial Coordinator and COP27 envoy stressed the growing role of women in political and environmental life in Africa. They are the ones who believed in the initiative, which we all seek to see a tangible reality.”

The minister said that women make up 70 percent of the 1.3 billion people living in poverty. In urban areas, 40 percent of the poorest households are headed by women. The health of women and girls is at risk due to climate change and natural disasters. In the aftermath of disasters, women and children constitute about 80% of the people most in need of assistance, while poor women are 14 times more likely to die during natural disasters. Extreme heat increases the incidence of stillborn fetuses.

As climate change leads to conflict around the world, women and girls face increasing exposure to all forms of gender-based violence.

Not only that, but women are also less able to confront climate change due to limited access to and control over environmental goods and services. Women are also less involved in decision-making and the distribution of environmental management benefits. In Africa, illiteracy rates among females exceeded 55% in 2000, compared to 41% for men.

Although women dominate world food production (50-80 percent), they own less than 10 percent of the land.

“We need to change the narrative – women and girls are not just victims of climate change who need support and empowerment to protect them, they are the heart and soul of their families and communities. Women are the engine of societies, all of humanity must join hands to reach the goals of mitigation and adaptation, losses and damages to ensure that we all win this battle.

The Egyptian presidency of COP27 had devoted a day to “the woman”, among the thematic days, which reflects the weight and importance of this issue and puts it up for discussion, which may push the issue forward and encourage its adoption by all concerned parties in the public and private sectors, schools, academia, civil society and development partners.

In the end, Dr. Yasmine Fouad emphasized: “Supporting the issue of gender and the climate should be a duty for everyone. Let us come together to empower and equip women to help the world change the climate for the better.”

On the other hand, Dr. Yasmin Fouad, the delegate of the climate conference cop27, moderated the high-level session on the role of women leaders in combating climate change: “The voice of women leaders in climate discussions, policies, implementation and beyond.”

With the participation of her Kenyan counterpart, Ms. Soiban Tuya, Minister of Environment, Conservation of Natural Resources and Tourism, Ms. Susan Gardner, Director of Ecosystems at the United Nations Environment Programme, Ms. Ann Songol, representative of the African Women’s Network for Development and Communication, Ms. Elise Backle, Co-Founder of SHE changes Climate, and Ms. Elizabeth Wathote, Founder of the Initiative green generation.



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