WAVE (Women As the Voice for the Environment)
UNEP’s Global Women’s Assembly on Environment

11-13 October 2004 | Nairobi, Kenya


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Highlights for Monday 11 October 2004

The Network of Women Ministers for the Environment and the Global Women’s Assembly on Environment: Women as Voice for the Environment (WAVE) opened today at the UN Pavilion in Nairobi, Kenya. In the morning, participants met in joint plenary and roundtable sessions to hear opening remarks and discuss the theme “A World in Conflict – A World in Peace: Gender sensitive policies on sustainable livelihoods”. In the afternoon, WAVE met in a brief plenary session and participants broke into six working group sessions on: enhancing global-local linkages; global environmental change and gender; urban challenges, environment and gender; WSSD-follow up and international environmental agreements; Beijing+10, CEDAW and MDGs; and capacity building and education.

Above photo L-R: Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT Executive Director,
Lena Sommestad, Minister for the Environment, Sweden, and Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.


Tree Planting Ceremony: 


Above photos: Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and environment ministers attending the WAVE meeting during a tree planting ceremony at UNEP headquarters.


Opening Plenary:  


Above photo : The dais during the opening plenary of the WAVE (Women as the Voice for the Environment), from left to right Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT Executive Director, Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director, UNEP, Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Lena Sommestad, Minister for the Environment, Sweden, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, Deputy Minister for Environmental Affairs and Tourism, South Africa, Srilatha Batliwala, Women’s Environment and Development Organization, India, Bali Devi, Chipko Movement, India, and Lucy Mulenkei, Indigenous Information Network, Kenya.




Co-Chair of the Network of Women Ministers for the Environment, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, Deputy Minster for Environmental Affairs and Tourism, South Africa, said Wangari Maathai’s Nobel Peace Prize is the first time recognition was given to the cause of women and environment.



Co-Chair of the Network of Women Ministers for the Environment, Lena Sommestad, Minister for the Environment, Sweden, highlighted that together women can trigger a process of change and that gender must be a common concern for all.



Wangari Maathai, Assistant Minister of Environment, Kenya, endorsed the role played by women and recognized all the efforts and struggles of the world’s women.




Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of UNEP, noted that WAVE is the first meeting sponsored by UNEP where men are in the absolute minority.



Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT Executive Director, pledged her organization’s continued cooperation with the environmental movement and requested that environmental ministers address these linkages.   


(speaking in her native language)

Bali Devi, Chipko Movement, India, noted that women have always played a prominent role in social and environmental conservation in her village, which lies in Chamoli Garhwal in the Himalayas.



Lucy Mulenkei, Indigenous Information Network (IIN), Kenya, noted how the erosion of cultural and biological diversity contributes to the vulnerability of indigenous women.




Above photo: Massoumeh Ebtekar, Vice-President and Head, Department of Environment, Islamic Republic of Iran, presented the emblems of the Department of the Environment of Iran to Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai.



Srilatha Batliwala, Women’s Environment and Development Organization, highlighted opposing movements to promote equality, justice, peace and protection of the earth, including: neo-liberalism, unilateralism, terrorism, fundamentalism, and militarism. 



Above photo: Beverly Miller, UNEP acted as the master of ceremony and officially opened the WAVE.


Above photo: Members of the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) presented a gift to Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai.


Roundtable I: World in Conflict - A World in Peace: Gender sensitive policies on sustainable livelihoods   


Above right: Rejoice Mabudafahsi, Deputy Minister for Environmental Affairs and Tourism, South Africa, indicated that a strategy to achieve sustainable development is to include a range of stakeholders. She introduced speakers in the morning roundtable discussion, who shared their experiences on conflict and gender sensitive policies.

Above left: Massoumeh Ebtekar, Vice-President and Head, Department of Environment, Iran, indicated that the current world order has put women even more at risk.



Marcela Tovar, WEDO, Colombia, discussed how women experience the environmental consequences of conflict and international and national policies to prevent conflict.


Muborak Sharipova, Open Asia, Tajikistan, noted that women have been totally excluded from decision making processes in Central Asian countries.


Capacity Building and Education: 


Above photo R-L: Fatou Ndoye, Senegal, and Habiba Al Marashi, United Arab Emirates, facilitated the afternoon session on capacity building and education.


Sayida Vanenburg, CSD youth representative, Suriname and the Netherlands, called for government action to improve women’s education.



Enhancing Global Linkages: Indigenous and local women's perspective on sustainable development 


The Working Group on "Enhancing Global-Local Linkages: Indigenous and local women’s perspectives on sustainable development" heard examples of local environmental problems emerging from natural resource exploitation by outside commercial interests, and the erosion of traditional farming practices. Above right photo: Lucy Mulenkei (IIN, Kenya)facilitated the Working Group on "Enhancing Global-Local Linkages: Indigenous and local women’s perspectives on sustainable development" with Stella Tamang (Nepal) at her side.