COP22: Women & the Climate – The uniqueness of women-led action
The Yves Rocher Foundation – Institut de France took part in the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations International Convention on Climate Change which took place in Marrakech
from 7 to 18 November 2016.
The Foundation hoped this would be an opportunity to illustrate the uniqueness of women in their approach to tackling climate change.
The Foundation was represented by Jacques Rocher, Honorary Chairman of the Yves Rocher Foundation – Institut de France, Claude Fromageot, the Foundation’s director and Marie-Anne Gasnier responsible of the Terre de Femmes programme.
“Our convictions in 2016 are as they ever were: we believe in protecting the environment while promoting the role of women in society”
Jacques Rocher, Honorary Chairman of the Yves Rocher Foundation
Our team was given access to the Blue Zone reserved for delegations and negotiations. They then explored the Green Zone, which showcased initiatives taken by various companies, organisations and members of civil society to tackle climate change.
“A powerful moment – finding yourself in the midst of a huge global village. 20,000 people coming together to represent the future of 7 billion human beings – it’s a moving and dizzying experience.”
Marie-Anne Gasnier, Director of the ‘Terre de Femmes’ Programme
The Foundation’s teams also visited events run by other foundations, such as those of the Fondation Schneider in partnership with the Art of Change 21 association founded by Alice Audouin. The association works to promote sustainable development and the environment with a combination of art, community entrepreneurship and youth initiatives. A fascinating cultural and environmental initiative to end the first day!
Today, the Foundation boasts a network of award-winners that spans the globe, and we were able to visit Faiza Hajji, winner of the 2014 Terre de Femmes Morocco award for her incredible project turning plastic bags into fashion accessories.
She held a networking event for businesswomen in Morocco as part of the ‘She & Green Social Entrepreneurship in Africa’ programme, an initiative backed by the Swedish Embassy.
The many women who took part were thus able to share their experiences and their impressions, including Professor Touia Barradi, the first Moroccan woman to graduate from Supelec, Paris’ higher electrical science training institute:
“There were some tough moments, but I had a burning ambition to conquer and stick to my path. My studies opened my eyes to what I can achieve and helped me discover the world around me.”
We were also lucky enough to meet some fascinating people, such as Omar and Kenza, who took us on a tour of their agro-ecology farm, ‘Marrakech Organics’, where the event was held. There were also unexpected meetings, as was the case with ‘Planete Khmissa’, a charming family that travels the world aboard their caravan ‘Meskellil’.
Our ‘Women & the Climate: the uniqueness of women-led action’ conference kicked off with an introduction from Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
Two round table discussions were then chaired by high-quality speakers, the first on the subject of ‘Women and Territories: how climate change affects women’s living conditions’ and the second looking at ‘Women and leadership: women as key carriers of solutions’. Two very relevant themes that showcase the place and role of women in our societies.
Maria-Noel Vaeza, Director of UN Women’s Programme Division, closed the speeches with a sentiment that still echoes in our minds:
“Let’s make this century the century of women!”
These few days at COP22 showed us just how crucial women’s networks are to stimulating innovation and resilience in our societies.
The discussions that took place during our conference reaffirmed the fact that the link between the climate, the environment and women is significant but little-known and needs to be addressed. This is why our involvement in COP is important – it enables us to present our on-the-ground initiatives and the findings we draw from them.
Our time at the COP22 was invaluable, and full of inspiring encounters.
The team at the Yves Rocher Foundation wished to share this experience with you 🙂