Mar 242010

As the following two items illustrate, rhetoric, statutes, reports and resolutions ad nauseam aside, women are still being systematically excluded from crucial discussions such as climate change and conflict resolution.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s decision to appoint a 19-member, all-male high-level advisory group on Climate Change Financing (CCF) has triggered strong protests from women’s groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) outraged by the composition of the panel.

The new panel was announced on Mar. 12 when the United Nations, ironically, concluded a two-week meeting on gender empowerment.

This despite the fact that,

Ban himself gave a speech last September underlining the importance of “an environment where women are the key decision makers on climate change, and play an equally central role in carrying out these decisions.”

“We must do more to give greater say to women in addressing the climate challenge,” he said at the time.

Explanation please?

According to Ban’s spokesperson Ari Gaitanis, a multitude of factors, such as nominations by governments, geographical representation and balance between developed and developing countries, influenced the decision-making.

Mentioning also the time constraint, Gaitanis admits that these factors precluded appropriate attention to the gender balance.

I have to say I honestly don’t think I have a crock big enough for that much excreta.

And then there is this from Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai regarding the prospects for peace in the Darfur region of Sudan:

(T)here is reason to be skeptical of achieving a comprehensive peace agreement for Darfur. Conflict in Darfur persists seven years on, with several failed attempts at peace. Many analysts noted that the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), signed by just the government and a single rebel faction, was dead before it was even concluded.

Under the leadership of Djibril Bassolé, the former foreign minister of Burkina Faso, the on-going peace talks in Doha must remedy the mistakes of the DPA to avoid another failure – namely ensuring the process is inclusive and consultative, rather than focusing on signatures in a quick time frame. The most notable and critical missing link are Sudanese women.

I don’t even know how to address this persistent issue of exclusion in a coherent, measured tone anymore. More than half the people in this world are women and our voices and lives should count accordingly. When the United Nations acts with such blatant misogyny, we do not have even the illusion of a framework for gender justice and I doubt anything short of radical woman-driven action will change that.

 March 24, 2010  Posted by on March 24, 2010

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