"Across the world, women are climate solution-makers”

16.11.22 | News
Nordic and African Leaders at COP27 side event

Nordic and African Leaders at COP27 side event

Andreas Omvik
The involvement of women in international climate negotiations on equal terms with men would have a major impact on climate policy. That was the conclusion drawn by Nordic ministers and African leaders in their discussion on policy measures for gender-equal climate policy at COP27 in Egypt.

The ongoing climate negotiations in Egypt are being called “Africa’s COP” since COP27 is taking place on the continent which contributes least to climate change but is most affected by it.

Gender equality has become an important aspect of the negotiations this year, and in an official side event to the summit, representatives from the Nordic governments, the African Union, and UN Women discussed how to achieve more equitable leadership.

Access to funding must imporove

“Globally, little funding is targeted at gender equality and women’s climate action. Moving forward, government action, including from African and Nordic leaders, must improve access to funding for gender-equal climate solutions,” said Sima Bahous, head of the UN gender equality body UN Women. 

A climate- and gender-smart agricultural

Since the green transition will affect every aspect of the society, a policy is needed that ensures gender equality across the board, from agriculture to higher education, from transport to fishing.

“On our continent, it is women who take care of the lion’s share of agriculture and who must now adapt food production to climate change. We need embark a highly attractive, climate- and gender-smart agricultural policy for the new generation of food producers,” said Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, the commissioner responsible for agriculture and sustainable environment in the African Union.

"Working hard to implement"

Representing the Nordic countries, Espen Barth Eide, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment and Hanna Sarkkinen, Finland’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health, recognised that up until now, the Nordic countries have had a relatively “gender-blind” climate policy.

They are now trying to push for gender-equality to be higher up on the climate agenda, both nationally and internationally.

“I’ve read the African Union’s climate action plan and learnt a lot. The Nordic countries have made a joint commitment to put all the relevant knowledge on the table and to integrate gender equality in all the policy areas affected by the green transition. I’m working hard to implement this commitment in Finland,” said Hanna Sarkkinen.

Women constantly adapt

In the African countries, it’s obvious that women are harder hit by climate change. They realised early on that climate and gender equality policies must be closely linked.

Head of UN Women, Sima Bahous, called African women “solution-makers” who constantly adapt, find solutions, and try to mitigate the vulnerability of their children and families.

Well-educated women are needed

Pacifica Ogola, Kenya’s Director of Climate Change and Forestry, said that well-educated women are needed for climate policy to be implemented in practice.

“Educating girls is a good way of building a society that is resilient in the face of climate change,” Ogola said.