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COP28 organizers want an inclusive summit. But how diverse is the negotiating table?

Dubai, Dec 9 (AP/PTI) Climate activist Lisa Nobaya sat in a room full of stakeholders at the UN climate summit in Dubai and asked delegates what inclusivity looks like at COP28: Does it mean that diverse voices are simply not present? Are you, or are you actively participating in what will be the outcome of the negotiations? The 28-year-old man’s question received positive agreement from the entire room. Many women, youth and indigenous voices say they feel they have been reduced to mere attendance, with limited opportunities to make significant contributions to decisive meetings, despite promises to make the negotiations more inclusive. Even attendance at the talks is unbalanced, they say, making meaningful inclusion even more difficult.

“If by inclusivity they mean that women, youth and indigenous communities have to just be here and not speak, then that is not inclusive, it is ridiculous,” Nobaya said.

COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber previously promised to ensure that this year’s climate summit would be the most inclusive and action-oriented yet and would bring perspectives from all sides of the debate – from the voices of youth activists, but also fossil Even from fuel companies. There is sharp criticism from environmentalists.

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, a negotiator from Chad, said it’s not just about how many women are in the hall, but how many women are in charge. At last year’s summit, it was two women who led the way to the biggest victory of the talks: securing a fund for developing countries to compensate for the loss and damage caused by climate disasters.

Of the 133 world leaders who spoke in the first few days of COP28, only 15 were women. This was an improvement from the previous year, where only seven of the 110 leaders participating were women. According to data from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on the registration of delegates, only 38% of delegates were women, three percentage points more than the previous year.

There were some direct efforts at inclusion from the presidency: when al-Jaber announced a ministerial pair to lead parts of the negotiations, five of the eight ministers were women, and three of them were from countries in the Global South. But overall, delegates say women are still under-represented in negotiations.

“We don’t even have one-tenth the representation of women here,” said Omrau Ibrahim. “We have women experts on all climate work, we have women dealing with technology, we have women politicians. But why aren’t they here? Why are they not at the decision-making table?” Jennifer Corpuz, an Igorot leader from the Philippines and head of policy at the nonprofit Nia Tero, said there is inclusivity in the outdoor spaces — like demonstrations and side events — but not so much in the COP’s indoor spaces where the real decision-making happens. . Corpuz is present at closed-door negotiation meetings.

“There are historical circumstances that have put us in a situation of not having adequate power,” Corpuz said.

Sara Omi, a delegate representing the Embera people of Panama, said women’s participation in dialogues is still largely invisible.

“Our participation is important because it is we women who keep the resistance of our people alive, we are the keepers of the ancestral knowledge that is passed down from generation to generation. We are also fighting for the food security of our people. We need to effectively include women in all dialogues,” he said.

Omi suggested that inclusion needs to start within country delegations, and said that hopefully things can change. He saw his story as an example and said his country’s encouragement helped him get a place at the negotiating table. Of his role. “Now when I talk, men listen.” PTI UZM (This story was produced as part of the 2023 Climate Change Media Partnership, a journalism fellowship hosted by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security.) AMS

(This story is published as part of an auto-generated syndicated wire feed. No edits to the headline or body have been made by ABP Live.)

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