Week 2 of COP27 Highlights Women Empowerment
December 1, 2022
As we progressed with Week Two of COP27, the importance of women as the key drivers of climate change solutions, as well as water, were highlighted during the week. Meanwhile, discussions were still ongoing regarding the important issues of “Loss and Damage.”
Empowering women to build inclusive societies that embrace gender equality is necessary to achieve sustainable development for all. When women are empowered to take part in decision-making processes, it results in greater social inclusion and greater economic prosperity for entire communities.
Globally, girls and women are significantly impacted by climate change, as noted by the UN’s Office of the Higher Commission (OHC). They are disproportionately affected by the loss of food security, natural disasters, and climate-related migration. The effect of climate change on women and girls can have devastating consequences on their health, education, and livelihoods. Displacement due to natural disasters such as floods, landslides and droughts makes women and children particularly vulnerable to violence and exploitation. In fact, 80 percent of people displaced by climate change have been women, according to the OHC.
But as UN Women highlighted, women are not only victims in this global crisis. Women around the world also have major roles to play in addressing the challenges of climate change. However, they are also often discriminated against and excluded from decision-making processes about climate change and its impacts. Using dandelions as a symbol of resilience and the need for awareness in women and other more underrepresented populations, female leaders of COP 27 urged for the need to put women and girls in the lead.
There is a very simple and effective solution—put girls in the lead.”
— Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one million babies will die each year because of climate variability and extreme heat on the world’s poorest people between 2030 and 2050. In many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, up to 90 percent of children under five years old suffer from diarrhea caused by contaminated water and poor sanitation facilities. COP 27 also raised discussions on the issue of water: “This is the water COP,” Csaba Kőrösi, President of the UN General Assembly, said at the summit.
The impacts of climate change have interrupted the Earth’s water cycle, leading to unnatural disasters and climate patterns such as floods, large rainfalls, and droughts, affecting millions of people who did not have access to water in the first place. Notably, the Action for Water Adaption and Resilience (AWARe) initiative was launched during COP27, with its principal aims being saving water, improving water quality and supply, as well as promoting cooperation between states and interlink water with climate action.
Though not everyone is able to donate to areas with inadequate water quality and supply, what we can do is try our best to save our limited water resources. When washing, try your best not to turn the faucet on when you don’t need it. In daily life, watch out for leaks and faucets left on as the drops can accumulate to a huge level of waste. During the season, try to reduce shower and bath times—remind yourself that there are many people who are suffering without water.