The Maldives’ Special Envoy for Climate Change, Sabra Noordeen, has delivered her remarks at the Generation Equality Forum High-Level Virtual Roundtable: Gender Inclusive Climate Actions; a global movement for gender equality, convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France. The event was focused on addressing innovative and transformative solutions to ensure inclusive and meaningful engagement of women and girls in climate actions.
During her remarks, Ms Noordeen reiterated the Maldives’ commitment to ambitious climate action and just climate solutions. She noted that climate just solutions require broad structural changes, to ensure the involvement of women and girls across all sectors. Ms. Noordeen highlighted the recent local council elections under the amended Decentralisation Act, where 1/3 of seats are allocated for women councillors, and stated that having more women in leadership and policy making positions will help to translate women-led advocacy issues into climate just policy solutions.
She emphasized the need for women and girls empowerment and engagement in building national resilience and transitioning to a green and blue economy that is both inclusive and regenerative. Shedding light on the global challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, she stated that a survey carried out by UN Women last year, on gender-differentiated consequences of economic empowerment, found that the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on women’s livelihoods, care burden and mental health.
Speaking further, Ms Noordeen said that the state recognized that supporting women and girls, as well as increasing investment in climate solutions, are long-term investments that neither the Maldives nor the world can afford to ignore. She described the two causes as critical to building resilience to the climate emergency and other future crises. She outlined the Government’s ongoing efforts to revise and strengthen the system, by highlighting structural policies that had been adopted by the state, including expanding paid maternity leave to 6 months, paid paternity leave to 1 month, appointing women as Justices to the Supreme Court for the first time, and electing women to one-third of all local councils.
The Climate Envoy also noted that with the Gender Equality Plan nearing completion, the mainstreaming of these principles across government and society will be prioritised. The plan includes measures such as; increasing the number of women in leadership positions in local government by 40% by 2025 and in the judiciary by 25%; providing services such as daycare; initiating gender-responsive budgeting; and revising national data systems to include disaggregation of data by sex and age. She added that having more women at the table means that the questions that are asked, the discussions that take place, and the decisions that are made will more greatly reflect our society’s needs.
As described in the Maldives’ Action Coalition’s main themes, Ms Noordeen further noted that we must take greater strides in improving and easing access to finance. She expressed the need to simplify these systems, as well as provide more education and training to assist in navigating the complex bureaucracies of project proposals and reporting mechanisms. She further noted the need to increase the number of women in blue/green/STEM jobs, stating them as critical to achieving the Maldives’ ambitious Net Zero future.