Women lead the most difficult climate talks: reparations

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) – Negotiators in climate talks tend to outnumber men and women, except when it comes to this year’s worst diplomatic issue in global warming – compensation for disasters climate.

The issue of corrupt nations paying fragile countries is handed over to women, who got the issue on the agenda after 30 years. Officials and experts say whether this year’s United Nations climate talks in Egypt will succeed or fail will largely hinge on the so-called loss and damage issue in international negotiations. It is an issue that combines equity and economics, balancing the needs of those who would hurt and those who would pay.

Almost all of the key players are women and they and others say that better gender representation could yield better results.

“I think what we need at this critical moment is compassion … We need to think about our world in the sense of taking care of our world,” said Chilean Environment Minister Maisa Rojas. feminine values.”

Rojas, a climate scientist, and Germany’s special climate envoy, Jennifer Morgan, engineered a last-minute deal that put the issue of loss and damage on the agenda for the first time in 27 climate summits.

Now that it’s on the agenda, it’s mostly women who try to do something sensible. And that offers hope, said a top United Nations official.

“Sometimes, at least in negotiations, women are able to find a way forward when high testosterone might not lead to that well,” said Inger Andersen, Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, in interview with the Associated Press.

Milagros De Camps, deputy minister of international cooperation for the Dominican Republic, said that women get better results.

“Results are better because women tend to be better at conflict resolution,” said De Camps. “They tend to be better at reaching agreements, better at developing tougher policies that tend to be more sustainable.”

Overall, in the climate talks, men are still in charge, in their entirety and in the highest positions. The president of the summit, the climate chief of the United Nations, the secretary general of the United Nations and the top climate delegates for the United States, China and India, together with the vast majority of the heads of government who took the stage in the first week.

Christiana Figueres, who was the driving force behind the 2015 Paris agreement as the UN climate chief, said that while there are exceptions to all generalities, women tend to be long-term thinkers, more inclusive, and more concerned about the justice than men. .

“We have a deeper understanding of human justice and this is very much a justice issue,” Figueres said in a Zoom interview on Wednesday. “So I’m not surprised that women are leading the political negotiation and thought leadership on loss and damages.”

“Women are at the forefront of the climate crisis,” said German special climate envoy Morgan, a veteran negotiator as an environmental advocate and former head of Greenpeace. “We understand how we have to work together with others to find a solution. Especially the most vulnerable.”

For women “it’s not about egos, it’s about finding the solution,” said Preety Bhandari, senior adviser on climate finance at the World Resources Institute.

It’s just behind the scenes. The public faces of climate compensation are often women.

Said Bhandari, the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, who is promoting her Bridgetown initiative which expands the idea with the reform of the multinational development banks, and the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.

Many of the youth advocates pushing negotiators further with their criticism of inaction are women – including Vanessa Nakate and Greta Thunberg.

“(Registrations) around the world that have more women, that have stronger climate action,” said Katharine Hayhoe, chief scientist of The Nature Conservancy. “They studied it.”

But it is not enough.

A United Nations report stated that women made up 37% of country delegations, and 26% of delegation heads, at last year’s summit in Glasgow. But among those younger than 26, 64% were female. In the group of those between 26 and 35 years of age, it was almost half of the women.

Environment Maldives Aminauth Shauna said that she noticed that when all the heads of state gathered at the beginning for pictures, called the family photo, they were almost all men. But when it came to the people doing the work, it was more women and young people, like most of her delegation, she said.

“I hope all of us women here can make a difference here this time,” said Shauna.


Wanjohi Kabukuru contributed to this report.


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