Gender and local government summit goes green

Gender and local government summit goes green

Date: April 25, 2012
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When the 280 participants entered the plenary session of the third annual Gender Justice and Local Government summit on Tuesday (April 24), they got off to a healthy start with a few aerobics before moving into discussions on “Gender, Climate Change and Sustainable Development.”

This year’s summit is the first since the annual event began in 2010 to not only include a new award category for urban and rural councils on climate change and sustainable development, but the summit’s organisers Gender Links (GL) also factored several green initiatives into their conference planning.

Climate change is on the global agenda and South Africa hosted the Conference of Parties (COP) 17 summit in Durban in 2011. The world also is gearing up for Rio+20 this year in Brazil to review how far environmental and sustainable development issues have become part-and-parcel of nations’ development agendas and citizens’ day-to-day lives.

According to Loveness Jambaya Nyakujarah, a senior manager at GL, the new awards category presents a consolidated approach to share good practises, knowledge, and raise awareness. “It is now urgent that we start organising communities more and more to respond to issues of climate change,” she said.

While Nyakujarah concedes that there is much to do to cut carbon footprints and promote sustainable living, she believes “the fact that people are becoming more responsive to climate change issues is a good start.”

GL took several steps to show its commitment to the environment by incorporating a “green walk” into the programme and participants will receive all of GL’s publications on a disk. To save further on the use of paper, participants will go on line to sign a petition calling for an addendum to the SADC Gender Protocol on gender and climate change, and they will complete the summit’s evaluation form on-line.

GL’s board also planted a tree at the organisation’s offices on Sunday April 22 in celebration of Earth Day.
In a moving ceremony on Tuesday, participants wrote their visions of the world they want to see in 2015 on recycled paper and place these messages in “memory boxes” made from recycled material, which will be buried until 2015.

Eddy Jolicoeur, a delegate from Mauritius, said he was highly impressed by the summit’s commitment to going green. “It’s a great series of small initiatives that I believe will make a big difference and Gender Links is definitely leading by example,” Jolicoeur said, adding that even the bank he works for built a “green building” which uses natural light and relies on solar power for energy.

Ticha Tsedu is a Research Intern at Gender Links. This article is part of GL Opinion and Commentary Service, special news and analysis series of the 2012 Gender Justice and Local Government Summit


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