Blog written by Ralda Forzin, member of SISWP

Climate Change was the subject of both a plenary session and a workshop which was held in the main conference room due to the high levels of interest. Speakers came from different countries (Kenya, Malaysia, the Netherlands) as well as diverse backgrounds and expertise (economics, education, advocacy, politics, activism). Each speaker approached the issue from a different viewpoint, but all were agreed on one thing. Climate change is real and its greatest impact is on women. We are in crisis. The need for both advocacy and action is urgent.

This is a complex issue requiring a multi-pronged approach. We are beyond “Think Global - Act Local”. Solutions must be sought at all levels - national and global as well as local and individual.

INTERNATIONAL - The science has been global and the Global Action Plan is UN driven through - the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) https://unfccc.int/). A very informative summary “Climate Get the Big Picture” is available at https://unfccc.int/resource/bigpicture/.

NATIONAL - The Framework requires governments to commit to reducing carbon emissions and to reporting their plans in the form of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). These are placed on a public register so you can find what your government is thinking online. You can check that they are in fact implementing policies that will deliver - an opportunity for Advocacy.

mums for peace CopyOne of the speakers, Dr. Joyeeta Gupta, suggested a campaign strategy for clubs and members to conduct an Advocacy Campaign. Young people have been campaigning for action on climate change and missing school to do so. The suggestion is that we, as mothers and women activists, take up a major campaign in support of the student campaign. She has titled the campaign - Soroptimists Mums for PEACE, this being an acronym for:
P Producers and investors
E Educators
A Activists
C Consumers
E Environmentalists.
Soroptimists are all of these.

The idea is that Soroptimists around the world, on a regular basis (timing to be determined), send a unified message to the leaders of our various countries demanding climate change action - all at the same date. The process is yet to be fully refined and will be further developed in response to a speaker from the floor who outlined a similar successful environment-based campaign. The message (messages) will be a global unified voice. More information will be disseminated later in the year.

Another powerful speaker, a previous Environment (et al) Minister in the Netherlands, Dr Jacqueline Kramer, put forward the following Action Plan and asked that we choose at least two actions from the following:

ACTION PLAN
1 Focus your efforts in 2020 exclusively on climate change actions (it is now or never)
2 Be the catalyst of a world-wide campaign of women and children to ring the alarm bell
3 Embrace the UNFCC report and plea for gender equality in policies plans and actions
4 Raise your voice in national decision-making to execute the Paris agreement
5 Start at home with minimum of 2 local climate products
6 Lead by example at home at work
7 Mobilise the (social) media in a smart way

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LOCAL/ INDIVIDUAL
Individuals can assist by both reducing and/or offsetting their own personal ecological footprint. One Soroptimist club, SI Bayside has a website to assist with this  soroptimists-lighting-the-way.org.

Both attendance, the speakers, and questions/comments from the floor, indicated that:
⁃ This is a crisis situation
⁃ Women are both major victims and part of the solution
⁃ Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and we have many in our Federation, are in danger
⁃ We must Educate ourselves and others on this issue, and inspire change.

Most importantly, this is an issue where we can make a difference because of our Awareness, through Advocacy and through Action - locally, nationally and globally.

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