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Women to Find a Common Voice before COP17
Source: BuaNews
Source Date: Monday, November 21, 2011
Country: South Africa
Created: Nov 21, 2011

Many living in poverty are the most threatened by the dangers that stem from global warming, but they can also play key roles in ensuring their communities' ability to cope with and adapt to climate change.

The conference will focus on how grassroots women can take part in the global movement towards achieving a fair, just and legally binding international climate change agreement.

Dorah Marema, chairperson of GenderCC International, said over the past decade, the relationship between climate change and poverty in countries where people's livelihoods depend on natural resources and environmental services has increasingly become a developmental issue.

"This relationship between climate change and people's livelihoods is seen to have strong linkages to poverty."

Women from various world regions and representatives of development organisations, NGOs and other groups working on the issues of gender and climate change are expected to attend.

Marema said the conference will also highlight the key needs of grassroots women - particularly in terms of climate financing. It will explore opportunities for advocating gender-sensitive national and international climate change policy.

Women will also be able to strengthen and rejuvenate grassroots women's movements and networks as delegates are from diverse communities.

"As countries prepare for COP 17 and work on their negotiation positions - which in most cases do not consider gendered impacts of climate change or gender-sensitive strategies for mitigation - it is time for grassroots women to come together and strengthen their voice," said Marema.

A list of common demands coming out of this conference will be presented to climate change negotiators at COP17. The minimum demands will also form the advocacy campaign of GenderCC for the following year.

Marema believes that the voice of grassroots communities, particularly women, is not being heard when the world nations meet on a yearly basis to tackle climate change issues.

"Their voice has been overshadowed by the corporations with their strong lobby and as a result, their environmental, economic, social and cultural rights receive very little or no attention on the UNFCCC agenda. While there have been some attempts to bring in this voice, this has been very minimal," said Marema.

She said women are also powerful agents of change, who play a key role in energy consumption, deforestation, burning of vegetation, population growth and economic growth.

Yvette Abrahams, Commissioner on the Commission on Gender Equality, will deliver the keynote address at the conference.
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