‘Women are agents of resilience’ (2)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates—The quote in the title came from Vjosa Osmani, the second woman president of Kosovo, who spoke at the panel discussion, “What’s your peace? Women leading the fight against Climate Change and Complex Crises in Asia,” spearheaded by UN Women and supported by the government of Finland.
The event took place last Sunday, Dec. 3, as part of the 12-day simultaneous activities at the Conference of Parties (COP28) organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). For this year’s COP28, the UNFCCC has granted UN Women and other governments like Finland that are actively leading the global advocacy of promoting women’s pivotal roles in development to hold several sessions highlighting women’s initiatives. These initiatives include pushing governments to address the adverse consequences of climate change events like excessive flooding and long dry spells or droughts.
More than 70,000 women and men delegates from 198 countries have gathered here for various COP28 events.
I was privileged to be one of the panel speakers alongside Ville Tavio, Finland’s minister of foreign trade and development, who gave the welcome remarks; Juha Savolainen, deputy director general, development policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland; Alexandra Fong, chief, policy and guidance of the United Nations department of political and peace-building affairs; Ameera Adil, climate activist and feminist, founder of the Pakistan Youth Climate Network; and Sarah Hendricks, deputy executive director of UN Women, who tackled the pivotal roles of women in creating transformative change in their respective contexts and localities. Nick Nutall, spokesperson of the We Don’t Have Time movement and former spokesperson of UNFCCC served as moderator.
Osmani’s speech focused on the importance of recognizing inclusivity in planning and decision-making as her government in Kosovo is pushing. The whole session was short, but it was a rich one in terms of identifying strategies that have already been implemented by women in different parts of Asia (in the Bangsamoro and in Pakistan) and the barriers women face as they go about in their advocacies for mitigating the impacts of both climate change and security challenges caused by communal violent conflict, as what is happening in the Bangsamoro.
Through Osmani’s speech, I realized that when countries are led by women like her who are highly aware of the issues affecting women, peace, and security in their part of the world, governments provide enabling environments that nurture lasting peace. Moreover, more technically prepared leaders to head governments, through their expertise in relevant fields like law and governance, would be better placed to ensure that women and men collaborate to promote more gender-fair relations thus forging a more inclusive society. Aside from being involved in the campaign to promote women, peace, and security agenda in her government, Osmani has a distinguished academic background with a doctorate degree in law from the University of Pittsburgh. Her type of leadership resonates with that of former prime minister Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern, New Zealand’s 40th prime minister, who ended her term last January.
In another part of Mindanao, in Barangay Kalugmanan in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, some indigenous farmers and women entrepreneurs have forged collaborative partnerships with local farmer-entrepreneurs like John and Renee Araneta-Perrine to promote the practice of permaculture. As mentioned in my column last week, permaculture is a nature-based solutions strategy to address environmental problems that could hinder the cultivation of important crops like coffee and grains, and other plant species that can be grown underneath a canopy created by the foliage of hardwood trees.
It is through this important collaboration of women and men that promotes local resilience, which could be replicated in similar environments in other parts of Mindanao facing imminent problems associated with climate change events.
More importantly, if we have local and regional leaders like Osmani and Ardern, it may not be a mission impossible to promote the pivotal role of women as “agents of resilience” in our part of the world.
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