ABU DHABI, 19th January, 2023 (WAM) — Over 120 influential figures came together to explore ways to boost women’s leadership in climate adaptation at an annual forum held by Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER), a global platform run by the UAE’s clean energy powerhouse Masdar.
As the world strives to adjust to a changing climate, women are increasingly finding themselves at the forefront of climate adaptation efforts.
In recognition of this, the flagship WiSER Annual Forum was held on Tuesday, 17th January, as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2023, the global platform for accelerating sustainable development that is taking place this week in the UAE capital.
Roundtable topics discussed at the forum included equal access to climate finance, increasing food security and access to agritech, women’s participation and leadership in the clean energy transition, and protecting biodiversity and eco-systems. Findings from the forum will be published in a report on March 8 – International Women’s Day.
Khadeeja Naseem, Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology for the Maldives, was one of the participants. “As one of the lowest-lying countries in the world, the Maldives is incredibly vulnerable to climate change,” she said. “We’ve been taking a holistic approach to these challenges, including building the resilience and health of our coral reefs – which are the first line of defense for our shores. To ensure maximum success for climate adaptation projects, women’s leadership is vital. Women bring unique insights and talents to this collective mission and we must remove all barriers to their participation.”
Guests at the forum also pledged their support for the ‘I Am WiSER’ campaign, which champions women as leaders and agents of sustainable change. The global campaign aims to provide a clear call to action for women and those who support them. Those wishing to take the pledge can visit https://masdar.ae/IAmWiSER/take-the-pledge.
Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy, was a keynote speaker at the forum and a high-profile supporter of the #IAmWiSER campaign. “The transition to a cleaner, greener future must be an inclusive one,” she said. “If measures are not adopted to increase women’s participation in emerging green occupations, current gender stereotypes are likely to persist, and women will only have access to a fraction of the jobs created. Ensuring women’s full and unfettered participation is a must.”
In recent months, the human cost of climate change has been in sharp focus with a ‘loss and damage’ deal to provide funding for climate-vulnerable countries being struck at COP27 in Egypt. Globally, women and girls make up 80 percent of those displaced by climate change, according to the UN. The UAE will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), in November and December.
Dr. Lamya Fawwaz, Executive Director of Brand and Strategic Initiatives at Masdar, said, “Whether it’s improving women farmers’ access to finance or encouraging women in the renewable energy sector, empowering women to lead climate adaptation will benefit all of society. The WiSER Annual Forum provides a space where people from diverse backgrounds can come together and work towards much-needed solutions. This is of upmost importance to the UAE, especially as we look forward to hosting COP28 and putting inclusive action at its heart.”
Since WiSER was launched in 2015 it has convened high-level forums attended by over 2,000 participants to promote sustainability and gender equality.