World Environment Day

Statement: Women and girls must be at the heart of the fight for climate justice

Statement by Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka for World Environment Day, 5 June 2021

Date: Saturday, June 5, 2021

Gender equality and climate justice are inextricably linked. In any climate crisis, it is women and girls who often face the greatest impacts from environmental degradation and natural disasters – from increased poverty to escalations in gender-based violence. Yet despite creating and leading solutions, they are all too often missing from formal climate leadership, innovation and jobs. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified many of these inequalities.

Gender-responsive climate and environmental action starts with ensuring women have equal access to productive resources, such as finance, land, water and clean energy. It must also support women’s skills-building, advocacy and access to technologies, with disaggregated data to inform planning and action.

Ahead of this month’s Generation Equality Forum in Paris, we have an opportunity to put women and girls at centre stage in the fight for climate justice and a decisive shift towards a greener economy. The Forum’s Action Coalition on Feminist Action for Climate Justice has put together a concrete agenda that includes financing women’s and girls’ climate solutions, supporting the efforts of women – in particular at grassroots and rural levels – to respond to climate crises, and increasing the number of women in climate and environmental leadership and jobs. They are calling on organizations around the world to join them in making commitments to advance women’s climate resilience and leadership.

The coalition’s work envisions a world with equitable access to climate finance, technologies and knowledge, and where the voices and solutions of grassroots and indigenous women are respected and amplified.

This World Environment Day, let’s demand concrete actions that will advance gender equality and combat climate change for a more equal and sustainable world.