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Ending global poverty begins with women’s rights

Mary Robinson: Concrete action within reach in Cancun

Mary Robinson: Concrete action within reach in Cancun

December 6, 2010

Cancun, Mexico – At a mid-way news conference to assess progress so far in the negotiations, Robinson stressed the importance of redoubling efforts to make concrete decisions on these issues to deliver results that protect poor people who are most vulnerable to climate threats.

“After one week of negotiations, we have reason to be cautiously optimistic about prospects of a deal that puts the global climate talks back on track," Robinson said.  “Serious challenges lie ahead, but with focused attention on the continuation of the Kyoto protocol and the establishment of a fair global climate fund, we can make Cancun a success.”

Robinson highlighted the essential role of women in developing solutions to the challenges of climate change which are threatening the livelihoods and food security of poor people around the world. 

Not only are women disproportionately impacted by climate change, but they lack access to markets and essential tools including land and credit that would enable them to better adapt.

“Women are on the frontlines of climate change because they are often the main food producers and so susceptible to the increasingly extreme and unpredictable weather,” Robinson said. 

“But women are also leading the way in creating innovative solutions that can help us overcome these challenges. Negotiators must recognize the essential role of women this week to ensure decisions made in Cancun can succeed once implemented.”

The first week of negotiations saw issues such as the future of Kyoto and how to anchor mitigation targets dominate the discussions. Robinson stressed that a resolution to these issues in week two would be vital, but warned that they must not be allowed to overwhelm efforts to make substantive progress in other areas. 

The establishment of a global climate fund with key details ironed out here in Cancun is a tangible and achievable goal that negotiators can focus on during week two.

“Arriving ministers can breathe life into the Kyoto Protocol,” Robinson said. “But it is vital that these efforts do not suck the political momentum from progress on other issues.  Success in Cancun requires more than a quelling of political tensions and must include real progress to protect the millions of poor people whose livelihoods lie in the balance.”

Canada has been one of the countries lobbying to reduce or eliminate binding targets from the Kyoto Protocol.

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