UN Climate Speech / 13 Nov, 2017
Women Must Be At Forefront Of Climate Change Discussions - Espinosa 

Telling a COP23 side panel that gender equality and empowerment of women and girls is key to successfully meeting climate and sustainable development goals, UN Climate Change Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, called for women to become a greater part of the climate change process. These are her remarks at the November 13, 2017 Dinner For Women Leading On Climate Change:


Thank you, Ambassador Khan for those words and for your role as International Gender Champion.

And thank you to our partners for organizing this event.  

Ladies and gentlemen, while Paris represented an historic milestone, Bonn represents how we will move forward to fulfill its promise. 

This includes an opportunity to move forward on gender-related issues.

Never has our work been more necessary. We see this with respect to the extreme weather events affecting every continent throughout the world.

We are running out of time to turn things around. To do so, we must significantly increase our efforts to reduce emissions and our carbon footprints.

Not tomorrow. Not five years from now—today. As we can plainly see, the weather won’t wait for us to act.

If we are to get off that development path, if we are to make the changes needed, we must have unprecedented cooperation, coordination and confidence.

And women must be at the forefront. 

As I have already said during the PreCop, this is not opinion. It’s not aspiration. It’s a fact.

And it’s what signatories agreed to under the Paris Agreement. It’s also stated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

We all know that promises without action, however, are empty.

That’s why we’ve been working hard on several fronts, including the Gender Action Plan. And I am optimistic about progress and concrete results here in COP 23.

In the meantime, I continue to call upon Parties to address gender imbalance within their delegations.

We continue to encourage them to increase the number of women being nominated and elected to constituted bodies. This is especially true of developed countries.

We also encourage all parties to include references to gender in their nationally-determined contributions. I have to say that it is very encouraging to see so many developing countries that have done so already.

We at the UNFCCC stand ready to work with all Parties to help them take action to increase the participation of women.

I am very well aware that much more needs to be done, both at the Secretariat level and in the negotiating process, including in relation to the issue of sexual harassment.


Because we need the voices and the actions of women more than ever.

When it comes to climate change, we need women at the negotiating tables, in boardrooms and as the heads of businesses, in the streets and in the fields…

After all, we know that gender equality and empowerment of women and girls is key to successfully meet our climate and sustainable development goals.

So, it is important that we work together to make sure that women’s voices are heard, but furthermore, that women are involved in making the key decisions that will lead to a better tomorrow for all.

Thank you.

Please note: This is the prepared text of the speech and may differ from the delivered version.