I’m thrilled to be back at the U.S. Center event celebrating Gender Day here at COP27.
Bold action is needed to combat the climate crisis. We are already seeing its impacts, especially on vulnerable communities, but we are also seeing the growth of entrepreneurial and innovative solutions to climate challenges. And that gives us hope, because we need all hands-on deck – the efforts and talents of everyone —to keep 1.5 degrees C within reach and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
We are gathered here today because women and girls, in all their diversity, and members of other marginalized communities play a critical role in these efforts.
We know that tackling the climate crisis and achieving gender equality are inextricably linked. And right now, we have an incredible window of opportunity.
If we ensure women and girls have full and equal access to opportunities to lead mitigation and adaptation solutions, we have the potential to spur cascading effects to not only combat the climate crisis, but also to strengthen efforts that advance gender equality and build resilient communities. These are the kinds of win-win solutions that we need more than ever and for which we all strive.
As we know, adaptation is a strong focus here at COP27, and women and girls can act as agents of change in different fields ranging from agriculture to natural resource management, to the development of early warning systems—all to ensure that adaptation efforts are effective on the ground.
I would like to pause to welcome Dr. Ahmed Dallal, President of the American University in Cairo and USAID Deputy Mission Director for Egypt Margaret Sancho. We will hear more about their exciting partnership to educate the next generation of Egyptian climate leaders later. I would also like to welcome Ambassador Daniel Rubenstein, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim to Egypt. So glad you can join us.
Last year at COP26, I was privileged to be a part of the U.S. showcase event on the gender and climate nexus and was pleased to announce a tranche of deliverables that highlighted the U.S. commitment to support and empower women and girls as true leaders in tackling the climate crisis.
As a reminder, at COP26, the United States announced the first-ever whole-of-government commitment to promoting gender equity and equality in responding to the climate crisis.
We also highlighted an additional $3 million investment in NASA’s SERVIR Program, which contributed to the resilience of women farmers in Kenya through gender-sensitive satellite-based insurance products.
And we featured the U.S. Agency for International Development’s efforts to scale up green jobs for women, in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Lab at the Department of Energy, by focusing on training and mentorship for women in renewable energy.
Over the past year, I’m pleased to also note that the Central Africa Women’s Initiative for Climate Action strengthened the capacity and participation of early-career women through a series of workshops reaching over 100 women in the Congo Basin. We are excited we were able to support their journeys to become climate leaders.
We have worked tirelessly with our partners and local climate leaders to launch landmark strategies and innovative programs to create opportunities for women and girls to develop solutions to climate challenges.
Commitments, no matter how ambitious they are on paper, need to be implemented, so today we are going to check in on our progress, by hearing directly from women leaders working on the ground, and then look ahead to our continuing efforts.
I would now like to invite Margaret Sancho, USAID Deputy Mission Director for Egypt , to come up to moderate our panel and introduce our fantastic panelists. Page Break
Wow, our panelists are inspirational agents of change and great examples of how women are leading the way in developing solutions to address the climate crisis. As they have shown, the relationship between women, girls, the environment, and their communities makes them uniquely positioned to develop locally relevant—and, thus, more effective—climate interventions reflective of the entire population.
And we recognize that last year’s commitments, while an exciting start, are just the tip of the iceberg. So, it is now my privilege to highlight the new U.S. government deliverables we are bringing to the table this year at COP27:
First, we’re excited to highlight two new policy strategies and guidance called for by the White House that integrate the critical gender-climate nexus, including the forthcoming update to the U.S. Strategy to Prevent & Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally, and the White House Guidance for Federal Agencies and Departments on Indigenous Knowledge.
As we heard, USAID is launching a gender-responsive climate finance facility, which will leverage public and private sector funding to scale climate finance that advances gender equitable-climate action. This is particularly exciting since, as you also heard, USAID exceeded last year’s funding commitment and is continuing its gender-responsive programming through the GEEA Fund.
This is impressive! I must give USAID — major kudos for their strong leadership on gender and climate!
And that’s not it – additionally, the State Department will initiate a global network of girls who are working to lead climate solutions in their communities and advocating for climate action both locally and internationally. We’re excited to provide further updates on this project in 2023.
And we have regionally focused projects, as well. Through the $1.5 million dollar Climate Change and Women in STEM in the Indo-Pacific Region project, we will increase women’s participation in the clean energy workforce. In South and Central Asia, the Inclusive Action for Climate Change project will use the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Agenda to address both women’s participation in conflict resolution and climate crisis adaptation.
And of course, I want to highlight the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation & Resilience (PREPARE), which aims to help more than half a billion people including women, youth and Indigenous Peoples to adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change.
These are just some of the initiatives I have time to highlight here, but we are bringing even more to the table. I want to direct you to the QR code on the screen, which lists all the U.S. government deliverables on the gender-climate nexus we are excited to present here at COP27. The announcements are available on the U.S Center website under “Remarks and Releases.”
Why are we having this conversation and making these commitments? Because, again, evidence shows that prioritizing the empowerment of women and girls, in all their diversity, in the fight against the climate crisis will make our efforts more successful for all, so we will continue to tap into this immense potential.
I hope you can see that we’ve taken our COP26 gender and climate commitments seriously and that we’re not stopping here because we know our climate future is female.