UN climate finance panel a boys’ club

// 11 March 2010

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has announced a key panel of 19 people, expected to mobilise $100 billion a year until 2020 to support the poorest nations affected by climate change. The panel is entirely made up of men.

GenderCC, a group of women working across the spectrum on climate change, from NGOs to business, today called for the situation to be addressed. They said:

While we are aware that the appointment of women does neither necessarily translate into women’s empowerment nor gender equality, we need to ask: Has the world run out of women experts? Is the planet consisting of men alone? Is it not for such imbalances that this climate crisis exists?

As Elizabeth Becker and Suzanne Ehlers pointed out over at Grist on Monday, this is especially ironic (not to say hypocritical), as Ban Ki-moon has called for more involvement of women in the UN negotiations to create a global treaty to tackle climate change – and has repeatedly highlighted how gender inequality puts women in a particularly vulnerable position regarding climate change.

The secretary-general himself has noted the need to include women in all aspects of decision-making on climate change. In a speech last September, he called on member states “to foster an environment where women are key decision makers on climate change, and play an equally central role in carrying out these decisions…We must do more to give greater say to women in addressing the climate challenge.” So why have they been ignored yet again?

The secretary-general and the co-chairs of the advisory group can correct this by expanding the membership of the group to include meaningful representation of female officials before the group’s first meeting in London at the end of the month.

cover of WEN reportIt is impossible to believe that the secretary-general couldn’t find any women with expertise to participate. On today, International Women’s Day, we hope the secretary-general reconsiders the membership of this important group.

The Women’s Environment Network has also just released a major new report assessing the gendered impacts of climate change worldwide, which I’m still kicking myself because I’ve not had time to read, but specifically concludes:

The most effective way of ensuring that all three of the above priorities are met is increasing the representation of women in decision-making bodies, particularly at the national and international level.

Photo by Oxfam International, shared on Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Comments From You

Jennifer Drew // Posted 12 March 2010 at 2:24 pm

I happen to know a number of eminent women who are experts in the field of how climate change is affecting women far more disproportionately than men are already drawing up a list of potential candidates.

This latest piece of deliberate male myopia will not go unchallenged – but it clearly shows how common is the widespread belief male= human and woman = what? Certainly women’s rights and interests are considered irrelevant as and when it suits powerful men.

Once again a case of ‘include women when it directly benefits men’ – but ignore women when the ‘old boys (and predominantly white male heterosexual) network is needed to supposedly fix climate issues.

Liz Stanton // Posted 15 March 2010 at 8:29 pm

I’ve begun a list of suggested members for the UN’s new climate finance panel on my blog about climate economics, and I invite your readers to join in with suggestions. The blog, Public Goods (lizstanton.wordpress.com) offers my perspective, as a climate economist, on climate change, economic policy, and the quest for global prosperity and equity.

Jess McCabe // Posted 15 March 2010 at 8:33 pm

That’s great Liz – but I suggest combining forces with WEDO, which is already compiling a list.

Have Your say

To comment, you must be registered with The F-Word. Not a member? Register. Already a member? Use the sign in button below

Sign in to the F-Word

Further Reading

Has The F-Word whet your appetite? Check out our Resources section, for listings of feminist blogs, campaigns, feminist networks in the UK, mailing lists, international and national websites and charities of interest.

Write for us!

Got something to say? Something to review? News to discuss? Well we want to hear from you! Click here for more info

  • The F-Word on Twitter
  • The F-Word on Facebook
  • Our XML Feeds