Copenhagen Climate Conference: Finland promises to support women in poor countries
President Halonen says women have important role in adapting to climate change
Laughter and the murmur of conversation filled the meeting room of the Bella Center in Copenhagen on Thursday when President Tarja Halonen met with women from developing countries.
Finland assisted in the participation of 21 women in the ongoing climate conference.
“Half of the population of the world are women. They have a big role in adapting to climate change, as women in the poorest countries have a primary responsibility for everyday life”, Halonen said.
“That is why their experiences need to be utilised already during the negotiations."
Women of poor countries are the ones to suffer from climate change, says Winnie Byanyima, Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“Agriculture and the water supply are in the hands of women in Africa. They need help in adapting to the consequences of climate change, such as drought, floods, and heavy rain.”
President Halonen promised that Finland would support the participation of women from poor countries.
“The gender factor needs to be included in the treaty. Money has decisive significance”, Halonen said to Helsingin Sanomat.
Women in industrialised countries also have an important role in the direction of environmentally friendly consumption habits. In industrialised countries, women make 80 per cent of decisions in the household on what to buy.
President Halonen said that the conscience of the industrialised countries should be stirred, as consumers are in a decisive position.
“Decisions on consumption are in the hands of women in most industrialised countries, and this also guides industry and business life, and various practices. Hopefully it is possible in this connection to make bilateral agreements, in which countries share solutions with each other. Men are also needed in this”, Halonen emphasised.
Also speaking at the event was Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, who emphasised that climate change is both an economic and also a moral issue, and that the poor suffer the most.
Pelosi said that one of the most important ways that industrialised countries can help the women of poor countries is through the development of new technologies.
On Thursday President Halonen received the Millennium Torch. The award is granted to a person who has made significant achievements in promoting gender equality.
The award was presented to the Finnish President by Denmark’s Minister of Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs.
Previous winners include UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
United Nations Climate Change Conference Dec. 7 - Dec 18 2009
Statement by President of the Republic of Finland Tarja Halonen at the 15th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen on 16 December 2009 (16.12.2009)