DUBAI: The world is at a turning point on climate change. Now is the time when the global community must take decisive and collective steps to protect the planet from future harm before more irreversible damage is done.
One of Expo 2020’s driving tenets is to be an event that accelerates transformative global change — and this message was delivered loud and clear through Expo’s Climate and Biodiversity Week.
This first themed week, from Oct 3-9, was staged in association with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, and DP World, the global trade partner of Expo 2020.
The week included several conferences led by global thought leaders with the aim of generating new ideas, inspiring different perspectives and constructing blueprints for long-lasting calls to action.
Key speakers included the internationally recognized leader on global climate change, Christiana Figueres; co-chair of UN Energy, Damilola Ogunbiyi; filmmaker and climber, Jake Norton; Eden Project founder, Sir Tim Smit, as well as environment ministers from around the world.
Climate and Biodiversity Week constituted the first of Expo 2020’s ten themed weeks, anchored in Expo’s program for People and Planet, aimed at finding solutions for the world’s most pressing problems.
One key takeaway from Climate and Biodiversity Week was the role that women play in environmental and societal change.
“We are confident that by bringing together people, policy-makers, NGOs and business leaders from 192 countries for Climate and Biodiversity Week, we can inspire the world to take positive steps toward a more sustainable future. We have the opportunity to take our place in history as the generation who stopped climate change,” said Nadia Verjee, chief of staff, Program for People and Planet, Expo 2020 Dubai, in a statement.
Leadership in climate change was particularly apparent in one of the first conferences, titled “Women Leading the Fight to Save our Planet,” at the Cartier-sponsored Women’s Pavilion.
Expo 2020 is the first World Expo since the 1900s to dedicate an entire pavilion to women.
The inspiring session focused on the disproportionate impact of climate change on women, and how women can play a greater role in climate-related decision-making.
The session was moderated by Hind Alowais, vice president, participant management, at Expo 2020, who said the fact that Expo 2020 was led by a woman demonstrated the capability of Arab women as well as the UAE’s commitment to female empowerment.
Maha Al Gergawi, senior vice president, political affairs, at Expo 2020, confirmed that during Emirati Women’s Day on Aug. 28, 2021, more than 50 percent of the workforce at Expo was comprised of women, and that 60 percent of Emirati women were in leadership positions.
Women, Alowais told Arab News, had a major role to play in addressing climate change. She said that one of the most important points from the discussion was emphasizing how climate change affected women differently.
“Women are disproportionately affected by climate change and by natural disasters,” she said.