Nationality: Indian

Country of Residence: United States of America

Current Position: Deputy Executive Director  of UN Women

Why is the work you do at UN Women so relevant to climate change?

UN Women is focused on interventions in two areas, one of which is to change and influence the norms, standards and policies at the global, regional, and national level, so as to make them gender-sensitive and gender-responsive. The other area is on the ground in 74 countries, where we mainstream climate change-related perspectives into our gender equality and women’s empowerment programmes.

Public perceptions of international climate negotiations seem to have struggled to recover since Copenhagen (COP15). Why should people still believe anything can be achieved in Doha?

Multinational negotiations are a very complex phenomenon requiring the balancing of multiple interests. As someone who is, and has been, involved in multilateral negotiations, I believe that it is only through optimism can you ensure that there are results. Already, one of the outcomes and highlights of COP18, which we are optimistic about, is the ‘Doha Miracle’, because it elevates previous decisions adopted by COP in Marrakesh to enhance gender balance in all related bodies to the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol.

How should gender be incorporated into an international agreement on climate change?

Women need to be present in the global governance framework of climate change, to make the case, build the required norms, and actively contribute to already established instruments such as the technology committee. Whether in discussions on climate finance, or any other any aspect of the climate governance structure, women must be better represented.

Why? Firstly, because women have a very big stake in reversing global warming. Therefore, it is important that a second commitment period is reached, and that we have a framework capable of keeping temperature increases to no more than 2°C. Secondly, women have an interest in the implementation of Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA). The Cancun agreement had clear agreements in terms of every aspect and pillar of LCA of being engendered, taking into account gender perspectives, and being gender-sensitive. Therefore, we want to see that this built upon and further implemented in the agreements currently being worked upon.

What sort of activities will UN Women be undertaking in 2013 to empower women (at all levels) to address climate change?

We have to make sure that Rio+20 outcomes, gender equality and gender empowerment are recognised as a driver, enabler, and beneficiary of sustainable development in all three dimensions - not only social but also the economic and environmental. We need to make sure that gender equality and women's empowerment is recognised as  a development goal in its own right and that gender dimensions are included in all the relevant post-2015 global development goals.

We have a large number of programmes on the ground which we will be looking to build upon, such as those working to build the resilience of women within communities to deal with natural disasters.

What are your long-term aims within your role?

We want to continue to help bring out the agency of women, put them in decision-making roles where they can drive the agenda themselves and ensure that policies meet their own needs, as well as those of the communities in which  they live.

We'll also be trying to further mainstream climate change related aspects into our economic empowerment work, political participation, and leadership-related projects. We will work with governments to try to ensure that gender is immersed into climate change policies, laws, legislation, strategies, action plans, and measures, but equally that climate change considerations are reflected in gender policies themselves.