Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), and Anamarija Frankić, director of the Green Boston Harbor Project (GBH) at the Center for Governance and Sustainability, are in agreement about at least two things: the importance of action, not talk, on climate issues, and the importance of the role of women in defining and undertaking needed action. Women represent more than 50 percent of the world’s population, the two agree, and in their minds represent more than 50 percent of the solutions.
Although women may bear the brunt of the effects of climate change disproportionately, particularly in the Global South, they are often also responsible for the management of forest, water, and other resources, and as such carry essential knowledge and practice for community adaptation.
A high-level meeting is planned for December 7 to follow up on COP17's exploration of the intersections of gender and climate earlier this week. Figueres; the Honorable Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland and U.N. high commissioner for human rights; European Commission Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard; and others will seek to ensure that gender issues remain prominent for the COP17 negotiations and beyond.
The conversation is important. But Frankić has an additional suggestion: take the top delegates, both women and men, to the laguna and harbor. Kayak to see the marsh or mangroves up close and personal. Enough talking heads, says Frankić, we need walking and acting minds and hearts.
(Based on reports from Durban from GBH Director Anamarija Frankić)