Network of Women Ministers and Leaders for the Environment Gender Forum

Brief on Gender forum held on 17 February shared by Janet Macharja, UNEP

On 17 February 2013 the Network of Women Ministers and Leaders for the Environment (NWMLE) and United Nations Environment Programme hosted the second High Level Gender Forum in Nairobi Kenya, on the margins of the first Universal session of the Governing Council of UNEP. Women Ministers, deputy ministers and government representatives from over 40 countries, and, representatives from UN agencies and civil society attended the Gender Forum. The theme for this forum was Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Transforming sustainable environmental management.  

Ms Amina Mohamed, Deputy Executive Director, UNEP chaired the high level opening panel comprised of   Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi, Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs,  South Africa,  and Ms  Lena Ek  Minister for the Environment, Sweden  co chairpersons of the NWMLE; Ms Alice Kaudia ,  Environment  Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Mineral resources – Kenya , Ms Sahle-Work Zewde, Director General , The United Nations Office at Nairobi, Ms Amina J Mohammed, Assistant Secretary General, UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning and Ms Rebecca Gryspan, Associate Administrator and Under Secretary General, UNDP.

The Forum participants exchanged views on gender and the environment and identified opportunities for integration of gender considerations in order to ensure environmental sustainability. Main themes explored at the meeting were integration of gender and environmental concerns in the post-2015 process, as well as the connection between climate and gender and, chemicals, health and gender. The forum reiterated the commitment of the NWMLE and its partners to ensure women’s equal rights, access and opportunities for participation and leadership in the economy, society and political decision-making, including in all areas of sustainable development policies and programmes.

Key outcomes from this forum were:

All Ministers and Leaders of Environment are called upon to be  “Champions” of gender equality and empowerment and have dedicated officials for coordination of related gender and environment programmes

Sustainable development: A consolidated proposal on gender actions to be forwarded for consideration by UN Secretary General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post 2015 Development Agenda, prior to its meeting in Bali, Indonesia. This proposal will be prepared in collaboration with the key civil society partners and will be submitted jointly by the NWMLE and UNEP.

Climate Change: The NWMLE will call upon all Ministers for Environment to support the implementation of the COP 18 decision on gender representation in the Climate Change talks and negotiation processes. In addition, the NWMLE, through its partners will seek ways in which to support the UNFCCC in implementing the COP 18 Gender decision and in hosting related advocacy activities.

Chemical gender and Health: Top priority action is to call upon countries to support the ratification of the Minamata convention on Mercury, this coming October. Further in line with proposals tabled at the UNEP GC, the NMWLE will call upon all Ministers of the Environment attending the first Universal session of the GC to propose ‘Chemicals’ to be a priority goal area for the Sustainable Development Goals and post-2015 development agenda.

High Level Forum on Gender and the Environment
Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: 
 Transforming sustainable environmental management
17 February 2013, Nairobi, Kenya