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17. June 2008

Edit Schlaffer und Wu Qing © FoG

Dr. Wu Qing and Edit Schlaffer in Shanghai at the "Women´s Forum Asia" in May 2008

The Women´s Forum Asia

The Chinese edition of the renowned Deauville Forum for global meetings

Women without Borders, together with hundreds of Chinese women was invited to co-shape a female platform for civil society and global dialogue. The theme for this first Asian forum was the burning issue “Growth and sustainability: How women are making a difference”. Two people who can help us to understand the most challenging questions in this future facing region are the charismatic Chinese politician and academic Dr. Wu Qing, how stands for the empowerment of rural women, and Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, Indian economist who received the Nobel Peace Prize 2007 together with Al Gore:

Dr. Wu Qing, Cultural Development Centre for Rural Women, Beijing
The topic for today is “Beware.” So why should we worry about wealth disparity? There are a variety of reasons for why we should be worried. I will focus on just two. The disparity today in 2008 is comparable to the disparity in 1928, the year before the Great Depression. That should send a shiver down our spines. Secondly, rural impoverishment and especially the sheer injustice of it today can be compared to the situation that was prevailing in France before the French Revolution.

In other words, wealth disparity can trigger political and social instability and it can trigger economic shocks. Growth without equity is neither stable nor sustainable.

Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, Indian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2007, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC)
Agriculture is going to be seriously affected by climate change. We already have enough evidence to show that the yields from several crops are actually going down as the result of climate change. We know, for instance, that a one degree increase in temperature can lead to a ten percent decline in rice productivity. In many countries, it’s women who will be affected. In Africa for instance, most of the agricultural activities are led by women and their lives would certainly be affected adversely.

What is even more important, particularly in developing countries where we can set up renewable energy production arrangements in rural areas, we can generate new jobs and new economic activity. This is where I would say that women all over the world have to drive this effort perhaps. Mothers, sisters, and wives have a unique position in society, because you can assert the influence, the thinking of those in your homes and those that you know. I certainly think that the front of the impacts of climate change will be felt by women.

We really have to protect this planet. We have to stabilize the climate of this Earth, but we can only do that if all of you ladies and gentlemen would turn on the light within you.

 
 

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