COP28: Artists, campaigners and humanitarians call on Rishi Sunak to prioritise women and girls in climate action

GenAdapt Zambia

04 December 2023


On Gender Day at COP28, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been warned that women and girls are paying the highest price of climate inaction.

High profile figures, including Orlando Bloom, Annie Lennox, Nikita Gill, Sanjeev Bhaskar, George MacKay, Stephen Fry, Lemn Sissay and Bianca Jagger, have joined climate activists, humanitarian and feminist leaders to call on the Prime Minister to invest in women and girls who are providing solutions to the climate crisis.

The open letter, organised by CARE International, highlights a new report revealing that women’s rights organisations (WROs) received less than 0.2% of UK bilateral climate finance in 2022.

Read the open letter

Stephanie Akrumah, a climate activist and Director of the Centre for Green Growth, a Ghana based NGO, said:

“Women and girls should be at the centre of tackling the climate crisis but instead, our voices are silenced and we are ignored when funding is distributed. Conscious and unconscious barriers holding women back must be demolished. We are losing our lives and livelihoods due to climate change caused by rich countries and corporations. It is time for Rishi Sunak and other world leaders to listen and support women and girls.”

Young climate campaigners such as Mikaela Loach, Bella Lack and Scarlett Westbrook, as well as leaders from humanitarian and feminist charities Oxfam, ActionAid, Fawcett Society, and Women’s Institute, joined the call for Rishi Sunak to support:

  • An increase in climate finance for Women’s Rights and Women-Led Organisations
  • The inclusion of women at decision-making tables
  • A quick and equitable transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energies

Author and climate campaigner Mikaela Loach said:

“The women and girls hardest hit by climate chaos have done the least to cause it. This is the social justice issue of our generation, and it is incumbent upon world leaders, including the UK, to step up and support them with meaningful action and funding that actually reaches those who need it most. We need world leaders to stop sacrificing us all for the short term profits of the fossil fuel industry and instead start actually supporting women on the frontlines of this crisis.”

CARE’s new report highlights the barriers that hinder WROs’ ability to address climate change, including the lack of representation in climate negotiations - only 38% of registered delegates at COP28 are women. An increase of just 1% compared to COP27. Of the 133 world leaders attending COP28, just 15 were women.

Download report: Turning Promises into Progress

Helen Pankhurst, Senior Adviser on Gender Equality for CARE International UK, said:

“Climate change is sexist. Droughts and floods have a disproportionate impact on women and girls for complex reasons, yet they are underrepresented in climate negotiations. Women and girls have the resilience and skills to survive and thrive in the most challenging circumstances, however, it is vital that world leaders listen to those who are paying the greatest price of climate inaction. The UK has time and time again committed to supporting women and girls in crisis. Now the Prime Minister must turn those promises into progress.”

Read the open letterDownload report: Turning Promises into Progress

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Women and girls demand action from world leaders at COP28