Gender and Climate Change Activities @ COP1 - Berlin 1995

Solidarity in the Greenhouse?

The first Conference of the Parties under the UNFCCC took place in spring 1995 in Berlin. In parallel, the local organisation "Women for Peace and Ecology" hosted an international women's forum with the title "Solidarity in the Greenhouse". It attracted more than 200 women from 25 countries who came together to discuss and exchange their views on climate protection.

The two-day conference comprised of workshops and panels on issues such as "The energy policy turnaround", "Transportation and urban planning. Perspectives of women", "On the implementation of Agenda21: From Rio over Berlin to Beijing and back home", and "Fighting poverty in the South – Changing lifestyles in the North", and ended with a panel discussion on the topic "On the way to the World Women’s Conference: What demands do women have of the UN Climate Summit?".

A list of demands was developed and discussed for consideration by the delegates. Interestingly, these key demands continue to be relevant today:

In addition, Eva Quistorp and Alexandra Wandel, the main organisers of the conference, sent an open letter to Angela Merkel – at the time Germany's Minister of the Environment and President of the COP, as well as prior to that Minister for Women and Youth. The signatories called on Angela Merkel to ensure that women and environmental organisations are as strongly represented at the COP as business and industry lobby groups.

Women were also involved in drafting a list of 10 key demands initiated by the German NGO-Forum on Environment & Development, which was then signed by a wide range of German civil society organisations.