Underrepresentation of women in decision-making on climate and environmental issues within international bodies (WEDO)

2 February 2024

Established in 1991, the Women's Environment & Development Organization (WEDO) is a non-governmental organization that advocates for human rights, gender equality, and environmental integrity. In a press release on January 24th, the WEDO highlights the absence of women at the negotiating table regarding climate change agreements.



The figures for the representation of women in climate and environmental decision-making bodies are stagnant – or even regressing

  • 19% of the delegation heads at COP 28 were women (2023, Dubai);
  • In total, only 34% of the participants in the negotiations at COP 28 were women (2023, Dubai);
  • Last year, 35% of the negotiation participants at COP 27 were women (2022, Cairo);
  • Fifteen years ago, 31% of the negotiation participants at COP 14 were women (2008, Poznań).


What can be gleaned from these data?

If 132 decisions made during the last COP 28 mention “gender,” and 54 of them address “gender equality in decision-making processes,” the representation of women in climate and environmental negotiation bodies has not seen significant progress in the past decade. This year, the number of members in the delegations has significantly increased. However, only 2% of them have an equal number of men and women.

So far, the Bonn Climate Change Conference in 2023 holds the record for participation, with a figure of 48% women present during the negotiations. Tara Daniel, program manager for WEDO, emphasizes another aspect of the issue: “Achieving 50% female representation is not the sole objective. Women must participate meaningfully and equitably alongside their counterparts.”


Taking action to ensure that women are present at the negotiating table on climate and environmental matters

Women are at the forefront of climate change: in addition to representing a significant portion of the global agricultural workforce, they are the primary victims in the event of natural disasters. Often deprived of access to modern and technological methods of crop harvesting and soil maintenance, they demonstrate resilience and bring forth innovative solutions to address these challenges. As key actors in ecological transition, they must be actively included at the negotiating table.

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