Women and Climate Justice

Speech by: Bernardo Cocco, Deputy Resident Representative

March 17, 2023

I’m pleased to be here this morning in this special event of “National Seminar on Women and Climate Justice” being organized on the auspices of International Women Day 2023, which was marked on 08 March. We express our appreciation for the initiative “Women United for Climate Justice” led by Sathsathai Foundation as this contributes to our multiple commitments for sustainable development such as gender equality, climate resilience and more importantly achieving the goal of “NO ONE IS LEFT BEHIND”

About Climate and Mountain Women:

Nepal’s vulnerability to climate change is higher than other countries in the region due to rise of temperature in the mountains is higher than the plains or other areas. This brings negative impacts on mountain ecosystems and their capability to supply ecosystem services, essential to support lives and livelihood of the mountain people. At the same time, climate change has differential impacts on the lives of women, children, disabled and indigenous people compared to other population groups.   This kind of initiative being led by Sathsathai Foundation is an important step to unite the women coming from different walks of life for their collective commitments to address the most pressing issues of climate change and the risks that it imposes on the mountain people particularly the women and indigenous groups about their survival and existence in long run. This kind of dialogue plays an important role in informing the policy makers and development agencies to shape development policies and implementation strategies that is able to address the concerns of mountain people, the women and the disadvantaged groups, based on the actual impacts realized by them.  I understand that today’s national seminar brings the perspective of mountain women (from Khumbu region) who are striving for their survival and worried of their future due to climatic impacts.

Climate Justice and Climate Security

The issue of climate justice is ingrained in every effort of the mountain women to make their living possible. They have to pay high costs of their living in the harsh and fragile setting of the mountains, and sometimes, at worst, they are forced to take hard decisions for their survival, such as migrating their families from their place of living, from where a new journey of uncertainties starts. The issue of climate change for the mountain communities is therefore just not an issue of adaptation but rather related to their existence, which, we at UNDP are look at from the angle of climate security.  Solutions to the problems are not in achieving incremental adaptation benefits over the time, but rather by securing lasting transformative gains while adapting to climate change. We believe that working on climate justice, which is the main theme of the seminar today will ensure climate security of the climate vulnerable population by undertaking transformative climate actions.  Both climate justice and climate security require aligning the national polices and resources to guarantee that climate risks are avoided or reduced, and the loss or damage that people had to pass through are compensated on fair and equitable basis. As we know, Climate COP 27 meeting happened in November 2022 in Egypt made a breakthrough in recognizing loss and damage by climate change as a key challenge for LDCs and building a consensus to work on this issue in future. The next COP 28 meeting which is happening in UAE in 2023, that will be hosted by the UAE government, I’m sure the issue of loss and damage will get further traction regards to agreeing upon delivery mechanism and dedicated funding.

UNDP’s Support

We feel proud to have supported the government for its effective participation in COP 27 meeting and having successfully raised the voices of mountain people to be loudly heard by the delegates of COP meeting. We also celebrated the year 2022 as International Year of Mountains, where we all had joined our hands to commit ourselves for sustainable mountain development by putting the concerns of mountain people at the center of our development efforts. At UNDP we feel happy to have supported the national efforts of understanding the mountain issues and bringing them to national policy discourse and international negotiations I look forward to the success of this one-day national seminar, which is being attended by high level delegates, including the Honorable Minister and His Excellency Ambassador of UAE and distinguished people from the government and other agencies. I believe that today’s meeting will help us reach a common understanding about climate impacts on mountain people and envision a roadmap to address them. I further believe that today’s deliberations will contribute to future policy discourse at national level and prepare us for international negotiations and advocacy for a solid mechanism for delivery of loss and damage, which will be discussed in COP 28 meeting happening this year in UAE.

On behalf of UNDP, I want to express our commitments for mountain women in their fight against climate change through our programmes and approaches. I just want to remind that we are close to submit a proposal to GCF to help reduce GLOF risks in four critically dangerous glacial lakes, which will safeguard the lives and livelihoods of the mountain people from future GLOF risks.  I’m thankful to Sathsathai Foundation for inviting us to this important event and giving us an opportunity to share our views. I feel happy about UNDP’s continued support to Sathsathai Foundation for this noble cause since last year.


Thank you.