The 2012 Secretary-General’s Five-Year Action Agenda underlines the importance of promoting women’s political participation. Active participation of women in decision-making positions is crucial to achieving equality, development and peace. However, despite women’s growing participation, the number of women in senior level positions in capital and international civil service positions falls short in terms of equal gender balance. What is the reason for this continued disparity of numbers when it comes to women’s representation? What challenges do women face in diplomacy today? What are the current needs of female delegates, to be able to strengthen their role in this field? And how can we work together when applying a gender perspective in national and international arenas?
The upcoming UNFCCC COP18 international climate change negotiations in Doha offer an important opportunity to further engage and empower women in diplomacy. A growing group of women leaders lead key elements of the UNFCCC process demonstrating the central role women’s leadership plays in effectively responding to the challenge of global climate change. At the same time, more work is still needed to ensure women’s full and active participation at all levels of climate policy and from all countries. How can such participation be encouraged and supported? What successful models already exist and what is still needed to strengthen the role of female delegates in the UNFCCC negotiations? How might women delegates collaborate to ensure the unique needs, challenges, and opportunities that climate change presents for women globally are adequately reflected in the negotiations?
By establishing an online platform for discussion, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), in collaboration with the Directorate of Energy & Climate Change, United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Women's Environment & Development Organization (WEDO) and Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA), aims to enhance awareness of the roles of women and the importance of gender equality in diplomacy today. Two moderated discussions will be conducted. The first will focus on women in diplomacy in national and international arenas. The second will focus on women in climate change negotiations as an example of how women’s engagement in diplomacy has worked, and how it can be enhanced and accelerated in the future.
The purpose of the Online Discussion Platform is to create a space where negotiators and delegates can share their experiences, support each other, network and build contacts socially and professionally. The Online Discussion Platform is the first step in a series of initiatives led by UNITAR to empower women in diplomacy through capacity building. UNITAR calls for negotiators and delegates from all fields to come together and discuss and share their experiences. The purpose of the Online Discussion Platform is to create a space where negotiators and delegates can share their experiences, support each other, network and build contacts socially and professionally. The Online Discussion Platform is the first step in a series of initiatives led by UNITAR to empower women in diplomacy through capacity building. UNITAR calls for negotiators and delegates from all fields to come together and discuss and share their experiences.
This Online Discussion Platform provides an opportunity for participants, through discussion and knowledge sharing, to:
• Understand the role of women in diplomacy
• Gain knowledge on the current research on women’s political participation and leadership
• Share insights and experiences as to their professional work, objectives an priorities
• Inspire and motivate others with same tasks and responsibilities
• Identify priorities and means for the application of a gender perspective in national and international arenas
• Express needs for support and capacity building
• Create networks for support and knowledge sharing across thematic fields
• Discuss issues related to women’s empowerment in the negotiations, leading up to COP18
The Online Discussion Platform will be launched in October. Throughout 2012 the Platform will be open for users.
Two discussions forums will be conducted and moderated by experts who will initiate a directed and targeted dialogue.
The first discussion, from 22 to 28 October 2012, will focus on:
Women in diplomacy in national and international arenas
This discussion will be moderated by:
- H.E. Ms. Diann Black –Layne, Ambassador of Antigua & Barbuda
- Dr. Anne-Marie Goetz, Chief of the Women and Peace and Security Section (UN Women)
- Ms. Begoña Lasgabaster, Chief of the Leadership and Governance Section (UN Women)
The second discussion, from 29 October to 6 November 2012, will focus on:
Women in the climate change negotiations
This discussion will be moderated by:
- Ms. Anna Pála Sverrisdóttir, Specialist, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs - Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs
- Ms. Ulamila Kurai Wragg, Executive Coordinator for the Pacific Gender Climate Coalition, (Cook Islands)
- Ms. Bridget Burns Project Coordinator, Women's Environment & Development Organization (WEDO)
Participants will be provided with a login and password and they can then log on at any time between the dates stated above, to add to the conversation. We would encourage participants to try to visit the Platform at least three times during each discussion to explore and engage in the conversation.
The discussions will be conducted in English.
In addition to the inspiration, networking and knowledge gained during the discussions on the Online Discussion Platform, participants are invited to join discussions during the UNFCCC Gender Day on November 27. at COP18 in Doha. There will also be a lunchtime dialogue on Friday, November 30th, which will look specifically at representation and equity at the UNFCCC, which participant of the discussion forum will be invited to take part in.
The Online Discussion Platform will target aspiring and current delegates, government officials, NGO professionals and negotiators worldwide. Both men and women are invited to join.