UN Women Palestine held a virtual side-event to the CSW66 session addressing Climate Change in the Framework of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in partnership with UNDP
UN Women Palestine, alongside the State of Palestine represented by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the Government of Norway, and the United Nations Development Programme, co-sponsored a virtual side-event at the Sixty-Sixth Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) entitled “Climate Change in the Framework of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda (WPS) in the State of Palestine”. The event was organized in partnership with the General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW).
The event, attended by over 70 national and international guests representing NGOs, governmental entities, UN agencies and other international organizations, focused on two key themes: the gendered impacts of climate change and environmental threats under occupation, and the role of women as active agents for climate change.
In her opening remarks, H.E. Dr. Amal Hamad, Minister of Women’s Affairs, raised the alarm over the gendered impact of climate change in the State of Palestine in the context of occupation: “The occupying power should be held accountable for its practices that contribute to climate change and environmental challenges which gravely affect the lives of Palestinian women and girls in different communities”.
H.E. Torunn Viste, Representative of Norway to the Palestinian Authority, underscored the importance of women: "Women are essential to leading and driving change in climate adaption, mitigation and finding solutions both as role models on the community level, and in educating the younger generation."
Technical experts, representatives from the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority and leading Palestinian NGOs in the field of climate change and women’s rights (Friends of the Earth Palestine, Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development, Women Media and Development-TAM), and young female climate activities shared their testimonies, insights and policy advice on these issues.
“The threats of climate change are not gender neutral. Advancing gender equality in the context of the climate crisis and disaster risk reduction is one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century”, stated Ms. Maryse Guimond, UN Women Palestine Special Representative. “For women in the State of Palestine, the impact of conflict and climate change exacerbates existing vulnerabilities.”
Ms. Yvonne Helle, UNDP Special Representative echoed this sentiment: “Climate change is a risk multiplier that amplifies and accelerates existing inequities in our economies and societies, especially in a humanitarian context such as the one in the occupied Palestinian territory where the resilience of communities is challenged daily to cope with additional shocks.”
During the presentations and the Questions&Answers session, the participants discussed key and engaging topics, dissecting climate change in the State of Palestine and the linkages with the WPS agenda, and exploring the intersections of climate change, gender, and occupation. The Gaza blockade and annexation of land and settlement activities in the West Bank were highlighted as drivers of climate change and environmental threats. Multiple speakers highlighted the importance of including women in decision making related to climate change as a foundation for establishing a climate-resilient Palestinian society. The participants had also recalled the possibility of mitigating the impact of climate change on women through the implementation of the Palestine second national action plan on WPS - UNSCR 1325. Women climate activists shared success stories on women’s role in mitigating climate change and environmental risks in different Palestinian geographical areas, such as women-led green businesses and solar energy initiatives.
The event, held virtually on 17 March 2022, was attended H.E. Dr. Amal Hamad, Minister of Women’s Affairs of the State of Palestine, H.E. Dr. Nisreen Tamimi, Chairperson of the Environment Quality Authority, H.E. Ms. Torunn Viste, Representative of Norway to Palestine, Ms. Maryse Guimond, UN Women Special Representative, Ms. Yvonne Helle, UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, and Ms. Sawsan Shunnar, on behalf of the Director of GUPW and the UNSCR 1325 national coalition as well as representatives of civil society organizations, women climate activists and academics.