BusinessWire IndiaGeneva [Switzerland], June 15: Shreya Ghodawat, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and CEO of Sustainable Guides (a sustainable consultancy) represented India at a High-Level Dialogue on ‘Women championing resilience for climate, energy and food security’ held in Geneva in the context of World Environment Day. The global non-profit organisation SHE Changes Climate and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in partnership with UNECE, UNITAR, the International Gender Champions Secretariat, the New Women Connectors and the IFRC among others, hosted an inclusive dialogue aiming at giving a voice to the women who are advocating resilience and multiplying solutions at the forefront of climate impacts. Representatives from the UAE (COP28 Presidency) and from key leading countries including Costa Rica, Mexico, Sweden, Mauritius, Finland, as well as women leaders, SHE Changes Climate Ambassadors and female spokespersons from the Global South were present for a significant roundtable discussion. Shreya’s remarks on building resilience and enhancing adaptive capacity of women to climate change – “India is a swiftly growing economy, now carrying the world’s largest population, but still a recovering nation from the effects of colonialism nonetheless. The nuances of which only those with our lived experiences and histories fully understand. Like most countries in the Global South, India is most vulnerable to climate change that affects everyone but does not affect everyone equally. Heatwaves have a disproportionate impact on women for several reasons. Cultural norms and gender roles often place women in positions that make them more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses – engaging in outdoor labour, agricultural work, where they are exposed to the blistering sun for extended periods. Women in rural India also walk roughly 3-12 miles every day to fetch drinkable water for their families. This increases their susceptibility to heatstroke and dehydration- posing a rather serious threat to life. Lost productivity due to heat-related illnesses, not only jeopardises their own well-being but also has ripple effects on their families and communities. This reinforces the cycles of poverty, early marriages, sexual violence, any gender-related crime which are amplified because of droughts, floods and loss of livelihoods in India and in the Global South as well. However, in the face of this mounting crisis, there is hope. Together, we can and must work towards mitigating the adverse effects of climate change on women who belong to vulnerable regions. Firstly, we must prioritise awareness and education. Empowering women with knowledge allows for a more informed response when faced with natural calamities. A lot of them will not have the copingmechanisms, skills, resources or awareness to begin with, therefore when floods engulf India women are 14 times more likely to die just because they are not taught how to swim, as a result of cultural expectations. This brings me to my second point of action- The urgent need for investment in infrastructure and resources. This loss and damage fund must be accessible and directed towards climate adaptation and mitigation projects that prioritise women. For those of us living in the Global South, climate change is making our blood boil. When temperatures rise, women must rise too. Heat expands, heat escalates, so we must too. To deal with the unprecedented changes that are happening we must do the unprecedented. And you know what’s unprecedented? A 50:50 representation of men and women at COP28 and decision-making tables worldwide.”Shreya is committed to promoting justice, fairness, equitable rights, de colonialism and climate solutions. She graduated from the National University of Singapore with a BA in Sociology and Gender Studies and has a Master’s degree in Sustainable Travel and Tourism.
She has been vegan for 7 years for people, the planet and animals and advocates for a plant based lifestyle. Appointed as the India Ambassador of SHE Changes Climate, a global non-profit organisation driving awareness of the crucial role of women in accelerating just climate action, Shreya aims to continue being the microphone for sustainability and advocating for a 50:50 vision at all levels of climate leadership. She is dedicated to fostering the growth of women-led tech unicorns focused on social and environmental impact. For the High-Level discussion, Shreya chose to wear a sustainable, contemporary outfit by ace designer Anita Dongre crafted mindfully with viscose organza. It was a perfect amalgamation of responsible fashion and trendy style. The ensemble beautifully reflected her vision for conscious leadership and commitment to climate change and gender equity. She finished her look with a stunning vegan bag by Anita Dongre and shoes by PAIO, a PETA-approved vegan brand that vehemently rejects the use of leather or anymaterials that harm animals. Elise Buckle, Co-Founder, SHE Changes Climate said, “What a wonderful way of celebrating the World Environment Day, valuing diversity, giving a voice to our amazing leaders and SHE Changes Climate Ambassadors, and urging the diplomats, policy-makers and UN experts to put the climate emergency front and center as number 1 priority, with so many country representatives joining us, listening to the women who have sometimes been displaced but keep championing resilience for their communities, wherever they are in the world. Expressing a deep sense of gratitude for all the high-level speakers who contributed and 100 active participants of the multi stakeholder dialogue. We will continue the nurture the spirit of radical collaboration working as One team for One Planet.” Those who graced the event were — Akilah Jaramogi, Indigenous Merikin descendant, Forester, Founder of Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation, SHE Changes Climate Ambassador- Lubna Qassim, Minister Plenipotentiary, Deputy Permanent Representative for the UAE (COP28 incoming Presidency)- Sharon Gakii, Co-Founder of the International Consortium for Climate and Biodiversity- Leslie Sligh, UNITAR/Global Platform for Action in Displacement Settings, Desk Officer, Decarbonising Humanitarian Energy Multi-Partner Trust Fund Secretariat- Elena Balbekova, SHE Changes Climate Ambassador for Ukraine, Former Head of Delegation for UNFCCC and Founder of the Climate Department at the Ministry in Kiev- Iva Brkic, Secretary of the Committee on Sustainable Energy, UNECE- Lubna Qassim, Minister Plenipotentiary, Deputy Permanent Representative for the UAE (COP28 incoming Presidency) and others SHE Changes Climate’s innovative approach and trademark is to convene, facilitate inclusive dialogues and catalyse transformative partnerships, by valuing diversity and connecting the voiceless and the powerless with the most influential policy-makers. They aim to put under the spotlight the issues and regions that normally don’t make it to the media headlines, often in Africa and in the MENA regions, where both COP27 and COP28 have been hosted. In particular, the global campaigning organisation strives to give a voice to those women who are courageous enough to build resilience for their communities, facing disasters and rebuilding their livelihoods by developing Nature-Based Solutions and regenerating the Earth.
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