Global environmental challenges
Too few women in U.N. climate jobs? Ban names 19-man panel
A women’s group is criticising the United Nations for appointing only men to a 19-strong panel of experts to work out how to raise billions of dollars to fight climate change.
“A planet of men? Since when?” asks the German-based Gender CC — Women for Climate Justice in a statement. (An update — since the list was announced, U.N. officials say that a woman has been added — French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde)
The new panel, to be co-chaired by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, will look into ways to raise at least $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries combat climate change. The panel includes Guyana’s president, Norway’s prime minister, finance ministers, investors and leading economists: all men.
Marion Rolle of GenderCC says U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon could expand the panel and add some well-qualified women before a first meeting planned in London for March 29. “There’s still time” she told me.
Rolle says Ban’s next test will be the appointment of a successor for Yvo de Boer, the top U.N. climate change official, who stands down on July 1 after four years in the job. His predecessor was a woman, the late Joke Waller-Hunter.
“The important thing is to look at the qualifications of both men and women. It must not be a woman at any price,” Rolle said. Many studies show climate change is harsher on women in developing countries than men, partly because mothers usually have to stay in areas affected by droughts, deforestation or crop failure.
Strong female candidates for de Boer’s job might be Kenya’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai or Dessima Williams, Grenada’s ambassador to the United Nations, she said.
Yet so far, nominees for the post are all … men.
(Picture: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks next to U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer (R) at a news conference during the U.N. Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen December 15, 2009. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins)