In November 2021, The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. The climate talks will bring together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.
The UK will be represented by an all-male team.
Business secretary Alok Sharma will act as president of the summit alongside an all-male team of climate and energy ministers. Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland, will welcome world leaders to the talks, but has no formal standing in the negotiations, and women will currently only be represented at a more junior level.
Women are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change. Without representation at a leadership level, how can we expect their interests to be fairly represented?
Women and children are 14 times more likely than men to suffer direct impacts of natural disasters and climate breakdown. A report this year by the IUCN also found that the climate crisis is fuelling violence against women around the world.
Yet they are being shut out of the key decision-making processes that will inform how the world responds.
Unfortunately, a Parliamentary Petition on this issue was recently rejected, as it was considered to be “challenging honours or appointments”.
How can we expect an all-male panel to represent the best interests of women in the climate crisis, if we are not even given official channels by which to challenge them?
We are now publicly calling on Alok Sharma and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, who are leading the team hosting COP26 and representing the UK, to address the gender divisions in climate by forming a representative and inclusive leadership team.
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