A panel of experts heard in Abu Dhabi that women should be at the center of climate action because they are still the most vulnerable to it.
The panel was informed that women should play a crucial role in climate negotiations and decision-making because of the Arab region’s increased vulnerability to climate change and the region’s gender parity gap.
The UN’s resident coordinator in the UAE, Dena Assaf, stated that the twin issues presented a gloomy picture.
“When we talk about the effects that climate change is having in the Arab world, they are much bigger than we probably think they are. Additionally, according to Ms. Assaf, “the Arab region is not doing so well on the whole gender equality index.”
She stated that the Arab region’s average temperature rise has been predicted to be 4′ C, compared to the global average of 2′ C.
The dangers are significantly higher thinking about that 73% of arable land in the Middle Easterner locale faces the danger of desertification, with a financial effect of Dh33 billion ($9 billion), she said.
Due to its extensive desert landscape and lower groundwater levels, studies indicate that the Arab region is more susceptible to rising temperatures.
According to a study by The Cyprus Institute’s Climate and Atmosphere Research Centre, the Gulf region is being affected by dangerous weather like the deadly flash floods in Fujairah and Oman and the flooding in Qatar.
Ms. Assaf stated that the economic viability of women was in jeopardy, particularly given that agriculture is the Arab region’s second-largest employer of women and that daily increases in the number of female-run households are caused by prolonged conflicts.
Experts believe that there may be a direct link between climate change and terrorism and extremism in the region’s water supplies and food production systems.
Ms. Assaf said that the problem was made worse by the gap in gender parity that was already there.
Ms. Assaf stated that the UAE’s neighbors were still struggling, despite the fact that the UAE ranks first in the Arab world and 68th globally among the 146 countries included in the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Gender Gap Report.
The index has three Arab nations at the bottom. Therefore, we are not doing very well in comparison to the UAE, which is the best country in the region and leading the way. We have a ton to develop.”
However, she stated that there was optimism regarding the region’s potential and opportunity for advancement.
Ms. Assaf stated, “We have already shown progress in many areas.”
The Mena region as a whole, according to independent consultant and Middle East analyst Hafsa Halawa, was responding “poorly” to gender considerations in climate policies.
“The very real governance challenges and socioeconomic challenges that a number of middle-income countries in the region face” constitute “part of the problem.”
The panel, which included diplomats, academics, analysts, and representatives from the private sector, talked about how Cop28 was a chance to make women’s full and meaningful participation a priority and address the most pressing problem of climate change.
The panel, which took place at the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy and was titled “The role of women leadership in advancing the climate agenda,” was held there.
It was put together by the Swedish Embassy in Abu Dhabi, the Swedish Dialogue Institute for the Middle East and North Africa, the EU Delegation to the UAE, and the academy.
According to Ambassador Andrea Fontana of the EU mission in the United Arab Emirates, women are still underrepresented in climate forums and even fewer participate in negotiations on crucial climate issues like climate funding, carbon emissions, and measures to limit the use of fossil fuels.
Nonetheless, Cop28 has shown a pledge to propel their initiative, with the EU dazzled by the arrangement of Shamma Al Mazrui, UAE Pastor of Local area Improvement, and Razan Al Mubarak, Leader of the Worldwide Association for Protection of Nature, as Youth Environment Champion and UN Environmental Change Significant Level Boss, individually, he said.
According to Mr. Fontana, “It is our collective responsibility to ensure that this [commitment] is followed up after the Cop by concrete actions so that women’s voices are represented in decision-making at the Cop, as well as in the UAE, EU, and worldwide.”
Malak Abdullah, a UAE Cop28 youth delegate, highlighted the findings of a survey carried out by a youth program on climate change, highlighting the significance of promoting female leadership in efforts to address the climate crisis.
With 58% of climate activists being women, the survey found that women tend to be more involved in climate activism than men are, demonstrating “the significant role women play in driving action.”
According to Laila Abdullatif of Emirates Nature-WWF, women have a unique perspective to offer because eight in ten people who are either displaced or affected by climate change are women.
She stated, “And as a result, they should be involved in the co-creation of solutions.”