Yesterday, both the co-chairpersons of the Global Network of Women Ministers and Leaders for the Environment (NWMLE), Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Republic of South Africa, Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi and the Minister of Environment from the Kingdom of Sweden, Ms Lena Ek led the meeting of the NWMLE under the auspices of UNFCCC COP 18 here in Doha, Qatar.
In March 2002, the IUCN and the Council of World Women Leaders convened a meeting of women ministers and leader for the environment in Helsinki, Finland. In attendance were 22 Women Ministers of Environment and 28 Women Leaders of intergovernmental and non-governmental environmental organisations from Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America who resolved to establish a Network of Women Ministers and Leaders for the Environment.
The overall objective of the Network is: To promote gender responsive sustainable environmental management at regional and global levels and enhance representation and involvement of women in decision making areas of environment and sustainable development at all levels.
Speaking at the NWMLE meeting Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi said, "the purpose of our meeting here today is to finalise the framework of performance of the network, looking at achievements of the network, challenges faced by the network and how can the network be institutionalised into UNEP structures".
"I would also like to accentuate the importance of reporting on our country initiatives particularly the grassroots initiatives or projects led by women, that will be evidence of our achievement as the Global Network and the impact we have made", said Mabudafhasi.
Echoing the same sentiments the co-chairperson of the Network Ms Lenah Ek, said "I am very pleased with today's commitment by Women Ministers and Leaders on Environment to action and a stronger presence in international environmental negotiations. Climate change affects women's health even more severely than it does men and the climate negotiation is one arena where women participation is essential".
Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs