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Women leading climate change: Masdar's WiSER initiative at COP28

Article-Women leading climate change: Masdar's WiSER initiative at COP28

With all eyes on COP28 taking place later this year in the UAE, we take a look at Masdar’s Women in Sustainability and Renewable Energy (WiSER) initiative and find out how they’re focusing on women to lead climate adaption.

In an effort to inspire women across the region and globe to play a more active role in global energy transition, Masdar’s Women in Sustainability and Renewable Energy (WiSER) is focused on empowering women to lead climate adaption.


Aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, WiSER was launched in 2015 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, and was born out of a need to support current and future generations of women sustainability leaders.

Since its launch, WiSER has initiated forums, roundtables and several symposiums to shed light on combatting climate change, while also providing training for young professional women.

In a 2023 WiSER whitepaper titled: Boosting women-led climate adaption, global and regional leaders came together to discuss their thoughts and views on how women’s participation can be increased in building gender-responsive climate adaption policies and strategies.


“The WiSER Forum whitepaper is a powerful call to action that should inspire change and increase understanding of the issues facing women in contributing to climate action. It is my hope that this will spark conversations, initiatives and partnerships that will drive meaningful progress and serve as a guide to policymakers, educators and leaders in the private sector on how to create more inclusive and sustainable practices that involve women,” wrote Dr Lamya Fawwaz, Executive Director of Brand and Strategic Initiatives at Masdar and Program Director of WiSER.

According to Dr Fawwaz, although climate change has significant impacts around the world, it is imperative to view it through the lens of gender and be inspired by the women who face the brunt of its effects. For her, around the women are at the forefront of building solutions and progressing sustainable development.

Looking at women in the UAE, she stated, they have demonstrated the bold innovations and courageous leadership needed to build a climate-resilient future.

“The upcoming COP28 conference, to be hosted in the UAE this year, presents a critical opportunity for leaders to come together and take bold and decisive action to address climate change and promote inclusive sustainable development,” she said.

While HH Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, President and CEO of Independent Climate Change Accelerators said that gender equality and the climate crisis are two of the most prevalent challenges facing humanity. “There is a direct correlation between the escalation of climate change and the increasing threat to the livelihoods, health and safety of the female population, with the United Nations reporting that approximately 80% of people displaced by climate change are women,” she wrote.

Looking at infrastructure, the whitepaper discussed how important it is to update and build infrastructure that is resilient to extreme climates. Marie Lam-Frendo, CEO, Global Infrastructure Hub writes in the paper that more private capital is urgently needed to build climate-resilient infrastructure at the scale and speed required to address climate change. “The UN has found that women are more vulnerable than men to the impacts of climate change. Having access to climate-resilient infrastructure presents numerous opportunities for women, providing them with essential services and creating economic opportunities,” she wrote.

Lam-Frendo noted that studies show that women, particularly in emerging economies, save more for the education of their children and so “having access to infrastructure will create opportunities for women to save more, fuel the economy, and strengthen their children’s education.”



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