20 September–Pursuing gender equality and women’s empowerment is powerful tool in the race to combat climate change, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message to the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit today.”

“Around the world, women from the poorest communities – as heads of households, owners of small businesses in urban slums and small-scale farmers in rural areas — face increased hardships as climate change affects land productivity and the availability of clean water.  Women and children are also directly affected by energy poverty and the threat to health from burning dirty fuels in the home for cooking, light and heat.  Climate-smart agriculture, low-carbon growth and sustainable energy for all can relieve many of these burdens and empower women.”

But he said  that too often, women face challenge that are compounded by inequality.  “Women – in the fields of science, politics, medicine, business, design, education, agriculture and natural resource management – have tremendous potential to alter the direction of our common future.  But society will never realize this potential until women have equal rights.  They must be safe at home and in public and free from discrimination at work and in the corridors of power.  When girls are healthy and educated and women have equal access to land, property and economic opportunity, nations have a better chance to thrive.”

Mr. Ban said the meeting came at a crucial time in history as nations work to reach a global, legal climate agreement and define a post-2015 development agenda.

“Holding global temperature rise to below 2 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels is essential to ending poverty and promoting equitable social and economic development.  Pursuing a sustainable development path that benefits people and the planet is essential for combating climate change.”
&ltp class=”MsoNormal” style=”text-indent: .5in”&gt