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Dear friends and dear colleagues,
I wanted to take this opportunity — on International Women’s Day — to say a few words about the importance of representation. Today – and every day – the best way to celebrate women is not only to include and elevate their voices, but to nurture them as leaders.
We all know that women are a central part of their communities, and the backbone of their families. They are mothers, sisters, daughters, and they are also key decision makers about food, land, and resource management.
Women also, unfortunately, constitute the majority of the world’s poor and most vulnerable, and they’re most impacted by the twin threats of climate change and biodiversity loss. But in representation, from community organizations to the highest of international offices, where their leadership is most needed, women’s voices are largely absent.
It would be easy, on a day like this, to pay lip service to nurturing female leaders. But we do need and want to do more than that. We need equal representation. We need to be sure the policies and solutions that we promote are not only co-created by women but also do not inherently exclude them.
As the first woman from the Arab world to head the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and now, the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, I am determined to leave a blueprint for those who will follow.
Biodiversity loss and climate change affect all of us, all of us need to bring awareness, all of us need to advocate, all of us need to be heard.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Happy International Women’s Day!
— Razan Al Mubarak