WIBF: Lobbying for change on your behalf at COP26 – your help requested

While COP26 has dominated news headlines, a little known decision – at least outside of WIBF circles – was taken at the previous conference in Chile in 2019 with regard to gender equality. This saw commitments by COP25 attendees to the Lima Work Programme and its gender action plan (GAP) – pledges that should have progressed. Our lobbying seeks to understand what has developed and offer to help.

We wanted to draw your attention to a recent initiative led by several volunteers across the Management Board and the Next Gen Stewardship community.

While COP26 has dominated news headlines, a little known decision – at least outside of WIBF circles – was taken at the previous conference in Chile in 2019 with regard to gender equality. This saw commitments by COP25 attendees to the Lima Work Programme and its gender action plan (GAP) – pledges that should have progressed. Our lobbying seeks to understand what has developed and offer to help.

As with most gender equality efforts, the programme has history. The first discussions took place in 2014, before a three-year extension of the initiative was decided on at COP22 (2016) and then the first GAP was established at COP23 (2017). In 2019, the discussions led to an enhanced GAP, setting objectives and activities under five priority areas:

1. Capacity-building, knowledge management and communication

2. Gender balance, participation and women’s leadership

3. Coherence

4. Gender-responsive implementation and means of implementation

5. Monitoring and reporting

Essentially, the GAP should improve the knowledge and understanding of the impact of climate change on women, as well as engage women in the implementation of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change. The intention was to also ensure the “full, equal and meaningful participation” of women in the process.

With the UK originally championing the conversation, we want to find out what’s happened and next steps. This led to two letters being sent from me, as the President and CEO of WIBF (and since I run my own sustainable finance business), to Alok Sharma, Minister of State and President of COP26, and Archie Young, the UK’s Lead Negotiator. This second letter was co-signed by Sophie Kennedy in her capacity of Co-head of Next Gen Stewardship and as Joint CEO of EQ Investors (another sustainable finance business).

Both letters set out specific actions in terms of simple steps for a way forward and requests for an update on what’s been actioned, who is in charge of the GAP and Lima programme for the UK, and that we can help. We have attached the letters here so you can understand the exact demands of both gentlemen.

Letter to Alok Sharma

Letter to Archie Young

CP2019

Given the considerable experience of female business leaders, who are socially and environmentally responsible business leaders, particularly in financial services where the ESG movement has attracted many more women than the traditional industry, we appreciate the challenges facing policy makers. And with our broad network of financial sector organisations and employees, we have experience leading multi-stakeholder collaboration between policymakers, academics and senior business leaders to build evidence-based strategies to support inclusion.

With the letters sent, we will seek to follow up with the UK government in the coming weeks, but we can do more now to draw attention to our offer of support.

You can help

As 50% of the world’s population and primary carers in most parts of the world, women across the world stand to be the most impacted by climate change. Women must have an equal voice in the climate debate when and where it matters most. COP26’s aim to promote the enforcement of the Paris Agreement and encourage countries to accelerate their efforts to combat climate change must therefore include the ‘other’ 50% of its stakeholders – something media reports have suggested is not the case.

With this in mind, please look out for our social media posts on both WIBF’s LinkedIn and Twitter channels and share, like and comment. The more engagement we can get, the more people our message can reach. We’re proud to have the opportunity to stand up for women in the UK and around the world who are being affected by climate change.

Thank you for your help.

Best wishes,

Anna Lane

President