Arab governments display foresight in climate change and gender

Amman, Jordan, 11 November 2009 – With a firm agreement elusive in the final days before the start of UN negotiations on climate change in Copenhagen next month, the ability of local communities in the Arab region to fight the negative effects of climate change hang in the balance. In a region already burdened by conflict and water insecurity, the lack of an immediate, binding and adequately financed agreement in Copenhagen that allows for action to be taken on the ground will prove to be disastrous.

Participants during the Gender and Climate Change training workshop in Amman

This was the message from the Senior Global Gender Advisor of IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Lorena Aguilar, at the opening of the West Asia training of trainers on gender and climate change conducted by IUCN on behalf of the Global Gender Climate Alliance (GGCA) in Amman, Jordan today. 


“Providing funding for implementation has now become a matter of life and death for many communities,” said Aguilar.  “We are out of time and people – mostly women - are suffering terribly due to our inability to act.  It is critical to ensure that we put finance mechanisms in place that allow communities to adapt to the onslaught of climate change in a fast and effective manner and that can only be done on the back of a binding agreement in Copenhagen.  We already know how to do this and can draw on successes in other sectors such as disaster risk reduction,” continued Aguilar.  “Including women in climate change discussions, the design and implementation of projects and decision making is fundamental.  Women are proven agents of change, they have a repertoire of coping strategies in various areas and also take a more altruistic view on matters affecting the community.”


The West Asia training is the eighteenth workshop in a series held globally to strengthen capacity and enhance understanding of the links between gender and climate change within the context of current climate change negotiations, i.e. adaptation, mitigation, finance and technology.  Taking a strong developmental focus, the workshops have won the praise of government negotiators and community leaders around the world, including Arab government negotiators attending the Asian chapter in Bangkok during October 2009. 


“The strong support from governments - and in particular the Arab League - to strengthen capacity on the ground and scale up impact by linking gender and climate change should be applauded,” said Dr. Odeh Al-Jayyousi, IUCN Regional Director for West Asia.  “Climate change impacts societies where they are most vulnerable.  There is strong evidence that supports our understanding that peace and security in the Middle East region will be seriously compromised due to climate change.”


Worldwide data has proven that by mainstreaming gender equality into climate change initiatives, we can enhance our efforts in reducing vulnerabilities and become more efficient and effective in our solutions – peace and security and natural resource management.


The two-day training session is hosted by the Jordanian Ministry of Environment and is being attended by thirty-five participants from Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Palestine as well as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), USAID and Mercy Corps.


Further information may be obtained from Lorena Aguilar, Senior Global Gender Advisor (IUCN) on + 161 55 212 523.



Media team:

·         Rania Faouri, IUCN Communications Officer, Regional Office for West Asia (ROWA), t +962 777888522, e

·         François Rogers, GGGCA Communications Advisor,  


Resources & Documents:


Web address:

GGCA Training Manual:


About GGCA: The Global Gender and Climate Alliance is a joint initiative working to ensure that climate change initiatives and decision-making at all levels are responsive to the needs of both women and men. Established in 2007, the GGCA’s membership includes 13 United Nations entities and 25 civil society and international organizations.



IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN works on biodiversity, climate change, energy, human livelihoods and greening the world economy by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world, and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.


About IUCN Regional Office for West Asia (ROWA): IUCN Regional Office for West Asia (ROWA) was established in October 2004 to launch a new and challenging phase of IUCN work in the region. The establishment of the West Asia regional office is considered a turning point in the environmental movement in the region, through linking the environmental work with the development aspects; economical, social and environmental.  The West Asia region covers 13 countries including: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Iraq and Iran. IUCN ROWA works through five thematic programmes including: the Regional Water Resources & Drylands Programme (REWARD); Protected Areas Programme; Poverty, Equity & Gender Programme, Marine Programme and Business & Biodiversity Programme.


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