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Khadijah’s Daughters is Shahnaz Chinoy Taplin’s blog focused on Muslim women – their issues, challenges and opportunities.

Shahnaz is Chair, Invest  in Muslim Women

December 30, 2015

Second Cop Blog:
Feminist Diplomacy:
Making COP 21 A  Grand Success

 
In my last blog, Women Warriors at COP 21 in Paris” we profiled three Muslim Women, Amina Mohammed,  Farhana Yamin and Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim. This trio of environmental and women’s rights champions have made substantial contributions to the climate change movement in their home countries.They brought those insights to the table at the Paris Climate Summit, COP 21, and contributed grandly to the successful outcome -- good tidings in spades. 
 
Are Women the key to Solving Climate Change?
There is considerable discussion about how to leverage the role of women in Solving Climate Change. Though the poor are considered to be the most serious victims of climate change, it is women in particular who are at greatest risk among the poor “Women and men do not experience climate change in the same way,” says Lorena Aguilar, senior advisor in the Global Gender office of the IUCN, an international development NGO.

The UN points out that “Women form a disproportionately large share of the poor in countries all over the world. Women in rural areas in developing countries are highly dependent on local natural resources for their livelihood, because of their responsibility to secure water, food and energy for cooking and heating. The effects of climate change, including drought, uncertain rainfall and deforestation, make it harder to secure these resources.”
 
 
Women are particularly affected by lack of access to equal rights, financial aid and educational resources. Land rights also compound complexities for women and only 28% of the world’s countries give women and men the same legal rights to land. "Women are further hampered with the lack of documentation pertaining to titles, deeds and proof of citizenship – all of which are necessary for women to protect their children post disasters,” says Mayesha AlamAssociate Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.

At the Climate Conference in Paris, Women Delivered in Spades
Given that women often bear the brunt of climate change, it was particularly heartening to see women in the lead in Paris.

Not only did the trio of women delegates whom we profiled in my last blog participate robustly in the COP 21 proceedings but a superbly stellar feminist also drove the global process at the helm. The trio consisted of: Laurence Tubiana, France’s special representative to COP 21 and ambassador for climate change; Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Climate Change Convention who is a force of nature and reminds people that “Impossible is not a fact, it’s an attitude;” and Rachel Kyte, World Bank VP and climate change envoy says: “We are at a point of inflection because of the growing pressure and motivation to create a more sustainable economy.” The trio of three women shared a vision, commitment and efficiency to successfully closing out COP 21. 
 
Laurence Tubiana, France’s top ambassador to the climate change conference left nothing to chance. She made sure that countries like China and India got what they had to have to be positive players, but she also saw stellar French cuisine menus and soothing negotiation hall illumination to enhance the mood, the communication and enable diplomacy. Ms. Tubiana  is simultaneously  creative and practical with a sharp focus on seeming small things -- short wait lines—and big ones, climate finance for poor countries.
 
Though the stakes were high for Ms. Tubiana, she never lost sight of the reality that a successful outcome would require almost every country in the world curtailing its “planet-warming emissions” and switching from fossil fuels to clean and new energy sources globally.
 
If Tubiana saw to the negotiations, Figueres set the grander table, assembling not only heads of state, but business, cities, civil society – the whole range of stakeholders in climate protection. When national negotiators faltered Figueres made sure that outside the negotiating rooms, the world was watching not from afar, but from nearby, close-in venues where pressure could be brought, ambitions raised and a sense of global insistence on success amplified.
 
And Kyte had to deal with the money – squeezing reluctant rich nations finance ministries to keep the promises they had made five years earlier in Copenhagen that at least $100 billion a year would flow to help poor countries embark on low carbon development – development that would help, above all, women.

This smart, distinguished and ever so capable female trio used their feminine magic to achieve their over the top victory successfully -- and to achieve their climate goals. They set their sights high, worked indefatigably and with acumen, panache and a clear eye on the prize. But they brought common sense, an intuitive sense of what other parties wanted, and a singularly feminine focus on getting everyone on board. The leadership of women at the helm was incredibly successful and “Going forward, let’s remember that women have to be part of the clean climate equation.
 
Women’s intuition, insights, focus on everything from food service to lighting and seating was a winner for COP 21, the greatest piece of feminist diplomacy is history.
 
Here, from Christina Figueres’s thank you POEM is how women think and solve problems like Climate Change:
 
“To all those, the millions of people around the world
who labored now and before,
so long and so hard, I say:
This is your success.
Individually for each of you, but, more powerfully,
collectively for all of us.”
 
Wishing all of you a happy new year!
Shahnaz
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