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Positive of COP 17: Increase in Women Leadership

By Michelle Simon - 01 Dec 2011 9:31:1 GMT
Positive of COP 17: Increase in Women Leadership

© Copyright 2011 - Christiana Figueres

In the midst of dreary news regarding Canada's bail-out, EU's turn-around and well same old same old US irresponsibility, a light shines through all the negativity, women are increasingly occupying high profile leadership positions and COP pronounces this.

Christiana Figueres

Born in the San Jose', Costa Rica to a family of high progressive political profile, Ms Figueres has been lauded for her work as Climate Change Analyst and is currently the UNFCCC's Executive Secretary. A well deserved position stemming from over a decade and half worth of contribution to the climate change agenda. "She initiated her life of public service as Minister Counselor at the Embassy of Costa Rica in Bonn, Germany in 1982. She served as Director of International Cooperation in the Ministry of Planning in Costa Rica, and was then named Chief of Staff to the Minister of Agriculture. Moving to the USA, she was Director of Renewable Energy in the Americas (REIA) and in 1995 founded the non-profit Center for Sustainable Development of the Americas (CSDA) which she directed for eight years. She designed and helped to establish national climate change programs in Guatemala, Panama, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, Honduras, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, becoming a prime promoter of Latin America's active participation in the Climate Change Convention. She served as high level advisor to both governments and private companies, including Endesa Latinoamerica. In 2001 she received the Hero for the Planet Award from the National Geographic Magazine (http://figueresonline.com/)."

A family dedicated to public life as it would seem, her father, Jose Figueres Ferrer was the leader of the 1948 Revolution, a founding fighter for demoicracy in Costa Rica. He went on to become the President of Costa Rica for three consecutive terms: 1948-49, 1953--–1958, and 1970-1974. With a strong female role-model, Karen Olsen Beck, Christiana's mother served as a public official as Ambassador to Israel in 1982, thereafter becoming a member of the Legislative Assembly for Costa Rica.

Patricia Espinosa

Born in Mexico City, Mexico and the outgoing president of COP 16, with an equally long-term life in the public service since 1981, as part of the Mexican delegation to the United Nations in Geneva . Ms Espinosa served as ambassador to Mexico in Germany and Austria. "On November 28, 2006, President-elect Felipe Calderon announced that she would serve as his Secretary of Foreign Affairs starting on December 1, 2006. Her priorities included the diversification of the United States-Mexico agenda (heavily concentrated on immigration and security issues) and the rebuilding of diplomatic relations with Cuba and Venezuela, which were strained during the previous administration (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patricia_Espinosa)."

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Newly elected President of COP 17 and Minister of the South African Department of International Relations and Co-operation, Ms Nkoana-Mashabane, born in Makgobaskloof and grew up at Ga-Makanye Village in the Limpopo Province. As a cadre of the anti-apartheid struggle from the 80s, she served on several mass based freedom fighting organisations from the United Democratic Front (UDF) to the Mass Democratic Movement (MDM) to the ANC underground structures.

After the unbanning of the ANC in 1990, she served the party in various structures including the ANC Women's League and actively participated in the re-launch of the ANC Women's League in the country. She has been a strong leader on the women's movement from chairing the ANC Women's League in Limpopo to being a Member of Parliament in the National Assembly. Her work in a democratic structure has taken her across the globe as High Commissioner to Malaysia and India. She served on the ANC's National Executive Committee and continued her work with the women's league. She continues to date to influence the Progressive Women's Movement, Limpopo Chapte. rMs Nkoana-Mashabane was named newsmaker of the year for 2008 by the Polokwane Chamber of Business.

It is indeed a victory when women hold positions of influence and more so with integrity. While handling all the suits and what was and still is a predominated male decision-making environment, women has shown remarkable strength in try to move ambitiously with integrity and unite the talks.

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