Towards a Diverse and Inclusive Process: WEDO’s Brownbag Lunch at COP18

by WEDO COP18 Team

Doha, Qatar (December 3, 2012)- As part of WEDO’s effort to advance the dialogue on diversity at the UNFCCC, the team at COP18 gathered together a group of advocates and delegates for an informal brownbag lunch on Diversity and Inclusivity in Decision-Making: Changing the Face of Representation at the UNFCCC. An international group of COP participants discussed the value of diversity at the UNFCCC: its ability to facilitate decision-making and compromise, and the fact that diverse groups of leaders will come to more equitable and sustainable solutions. The participants drew on their own experiences to discuss current barriers to diversity and equitable representation. Iiliya Sumana, for example, explained some of the structural impediments to female participation in the Bangladeshi delegation to the UNFCCC, citing low female representation in the government ministries from which delegates are selected (such as Ministry of the Environment or Ministry of Science and Technology). Facilitators also asked the participants to think about the true meaning of diversity: does meeting a target percentage of women, youth, or underrepresented minorities in delegations mean the diversity has been achieved? Or should there a broader goal, one that envisions transformation of current societal structures to enable active participation by all members of society?

This will certainly not be the last opportunity that WEDO takes to stimulate dialogue on the importance of diversity in the UNFCCC and other global governing institutions.