ECOSOC Addresses Gender Aspects of Climate Change
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23 July 2008: Opening the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) discussion on ‘mainstreaming a gender perspective into all UN policies and programmes, women and development, and the advancement of women,’ Rachel Mayanja, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, noted the particular vulnerability of women to climate change and […]

23 July
2008: Opening the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) discussion on ‘mainstreaming
a gender perspective into all UN policies and programmes, women and
development, and the advancement of women,’ Rachel Mayanja, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on
Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, noted the particular vulnerability of
women to climate change and the food crisis.

Mayanja outlined steps taken by the UN system in
mainstreaming gender equality, including with the creation by the Inter-Agency
Network on Women and Gender Equality, of a new task force on climate change. Kazakhstan
also emphasized the particular challenges posed to women by climate change and
the food crisis, and stressed the need to enhance women’s capacities to provide
them access to microfinance. In the afternoon, Willene Johnson, expert member
of the Committee for Policy Development (US), opened a session that was part of
the ECOSOC’s focus on ‘economic and environmental questions.’
On implementing
the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to sustainable
development, which was also the theme adopted for this year’s Annual
Ministerial Review, she highlighted the impacts of climate change on
development and called for: addressing adaptation; developing new partnerships
between developed and developing countries; and providing access by developing
countries to funds and new technologies. Auxmite Gebre-Egziabher, Director of
the UN Human Settlements Programme Office in New York, then presented the UN Secretary-General’s
report on Coordinated Implementation of the Habitat Agenda (document
E/2008/64). She highlighted the linkages between climate change, the food
crisis and unsustainable patterns of urbanization, and urged a focus on cities
in the climate change debate. Antigua
and Barbuda, on behalf of the G77/China, and
Cuba
underscored the linkages between climate change and the food and energy crises,
and stressed their impacts on the sustainable development agenda.
On biofuels, Cuba
stated that the use of food crops in the US and Europe had exacerbated the food
crisis. She called on developed countries to take the lead in the fight against
climate change and increase their official development assistance and, with
Pakistan, underscored the principle of shared but differentiated
responsibilities. Barbados
called on the international community to help small island developing States in
implementing their national plans and strategies. On the climate change regime,
Cuba
called on developed countries to comply with their commitments and establish more
ambitious emission reduction targets. The Russian Federation welcomed the UN Commission
on Sustainable Development’s (CSD) focus for its 2009 session on, inter alia, drought, desertification and
climate change. Pakistan noted that the international community had failed to
create a carbon-free development model and stressed the importance of
environmentally-friendly and affordable technology, an issue for the CSD’s
consideration.
The Maldives indicated it had established a consultative
mechanism with its development and trading partners that had examined national
adaptation to climate change and investment opportunities. The UN Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization explained it had established the Global
Sea Level Observing System and was implementing the Adaptation to Climate
Change in Coastal Zones project in a number of African countries. He outlined
partnerships with other UN partners, as well as efforts by its Intergovernmental
Oceanographic Commission in tackling and adapting to climate change. [UN press release,
23 July 2008]

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