Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), the “Mother of the Nation,” the GWU, in collaboration with the COP28 Committee, organised a discussion session under the theme, “Emirati women and sustainable environment.”
The session began with Sheikha Fatima’s speech, delivered on her behalf by Sheikha Hessa bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Sheikha Fatima expressed her deep honor in addressing the audience, extending her congratulations to Emirati women and all women across the nation. She emphasized the importance of women's advancement and well-being. She acknowledged the annual celebration of the daughters of Zayed, expressing gratitude for the women who contributed to the progress of the country. She also recognized the vital role played by women in maintaining family responsibilities. She praised the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and others for steering the nation towards a promising future. She underscored the UAE's commitment to empowering women, particularly in the context of climate change, citing prominent women leaders involved in COP28 preparations. She highlighted the gender-specific impact of climate change and the need for gender-responsive policies.
She affirmed the role of the General Women's Union (GWU) in promoting an environment for women's participation and awareness about gender equality and climate change. She stressed women's crucial role in addressing global challenges, emphasizing that climate change is a fundamental aspect of sustainable development. She praised the "Climate Change and Gender Equality" initiative, a collaborative effort aimed at promoting women's involvement in climate change dialogues.
In a speech delivered on behalf of the COP28 team, Razan Al Mubarak, also President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said,
“I would like to express my gratitude and admiration to H.H. Sheikha Fatima, the pioneer of women’s empowerment and the builder of a homeland that follows the vision, values and principles of the late Sheikh Zayed on Emirati Women’s Day.”
“This day marks the anniversary of the founding of the GWU in 1975. I am honoured to be part of the COP28 leadership team and I am also proud to be the first Arab woman to lead the IUCN, a global organisation dedicated to nature conservation. I owe this opportunity to my homeland, which has given me and many other women a chance to represent our nation at COP28, where we make up more than half of our negotiators,”
Haifa Al Kaylani, Chairwoman of the Board of the Arab International Women’s Forum, said she was delighted to join the Emirati Women’s Day celebration, praising the UAE’s leadership for promoting and empowering women and encouraging their involvement in business and sustainable development across various sectors.
She also stressed that the UAE’s appointment of female leaders at COP28 demonstrates its dedication to a global sustainable future and will show the world how to overcome challenges and promote cooperation, noting that the UAE has achieved remarkable progress due to its leadership’s strategic investment in education over many decades, which has made the country a global hub for knowledge, research and science.
The session featured several prominent leaders who shared their insights.
Almheiri highlighted the importance of COP28 for the global community and the country, noting that the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is working to tackle climate change challenges and ensure a sustainable future for the next generations.
Dr. Nawal Al Hosani, UAE Envoy to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), explained the agency’s mission and the major energy challenges facing the world and the UAE, noting the country’s initiatives in clean and alternative energy and how they contribute to combatting climate change.
Gaia Al Ahbabi,i, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Ambassador for the COP28 Youth, concluded the session by speaking on behalf of future generations, stating that Emirati women have long been committed to sustainability, even before it was a popular concept.
She also talked about traditional practices of home agriculture and creative recycling, adding that she and her peers are committed to continuing these practices to preserve the environment.
On the sidelines of the session, the GWU, in collaboration with the National Centre of Meteorology, announced the launch of an e-sustainability screen, which will serve the residents of Al Mushrif by providing live updates on weather conditions, pollution levels and daily air quality. The screen is strategically placed at the main intersection leading to the GWU’s building.
The General Women's Union also organised a side exhibition featuring traditional clothing and heritage items made from recycled materials. This exhibition showcases a section of Emirati heritage through the traditional dress of Emirati women and highlights innovative and attractive methods of reusing household items. These products were created by the Emirati Craftswomen's Academy, launched by Sheikha Fatima in 2020, to promote Emirati heritage and pass it down to future generations.
News Source: Emirates News Agency