24 September 2009

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, At Event on Women’s Leadership, Calls for Action

to Give Them Greater Say in Addressing Climate Change Challenge

Following is United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the event on “Peace and Security through Women's Leadership: Acting on 1325 and Climate Change”, delivered by Rachel Mayanja, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, in New York today, 24 September:

This has been a remarkable week at the United Nations in mobilizing political will on climate change, but the participation of more than 100 leaders at the Summit meeting on Tuesday was far from an end in itself.  Now we must sustain the momentum.

Women are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.  Many depend directly on the environment for their livelihoods and sustenance.  Women are also custodians of community knowledge, with keen insights into how to sustainably manage natural resources.

But while the United Nations has succeeded in amplifying the voices of women on a range of issues, including conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding, the special perspective of women is often overlooked in global discussions on climate change.  We must do more to give greater say to women in addressing the climate challenge.

Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) offers a model for action.  That resolution marked a milestone by recognizing the active participation of women in peace and security.  I urge 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.

Women should be seen not as victims but as agents of progress.  Here, again, we can learn from resolution 1325 (2000) and it focus on women’s empowerment.  With their skills, perspectives and experiences, women are already responding to the impacts of climate change.  It is time to involve them as equal partners.  When we do, our world as a whole will benefit.

I wish you success in striving towards this goal, and pledge my full support for your efforts.

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For information media • not an official record