The President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Sam Kutesa held a high level 2-day meeting on Climate Change at United Nations Headquarters in New York (ECOSOC) – to ensure that leaders take ambitious decisions to reduce poverty, inequality and to take actions that protects our planet. The United Nations Official Press release can be found here:

On Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at the Climate Event of the President of the General Assembly
UN General Assembly High Level Climate Change Meeting – Address by Lilian O. Ajayi,
Founder and Executive Director of Global Connections for Women Foundation (GC4W). 

Honorable President of the General Assembly, Distinguish Delegates, Fellow NGO Representatives, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for the opportunity to speak at the High Level Meeting on Climate Change.

High-Level Event on Climate ChangeMy name is Lilian O. Ajayi – and I stand here today not as the Founder and Executive Director of the Global Connections for Women Foundation (GC4W) – an NGO with a Global Commitment to equipping women and girls with the resources they need to feel connected, educated and empowered – so they may find their voice and are better able to create opportunities for themselves and their communities. I am here TODAY as the daughter of the Chief Temitope Ajayi (Mama Diaspora).

I am here representing the voices of the rural women and girls in Africa – I am a mother and child in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Kenya, Uganda, to name a few. I represent the voices of the women farmers who are without the means of providing for their families because of the adverse impact of Climate Change.

High-Level Event on Climate ChangeWomen and Girls in Africa are struggling the most due to the threats of Climate Change and I stand here today knowing that their voices will be represented when the final document are drafted at COP21 Paris.

Women and Girls in the rural areas of Africa face the biggest challenge when it comes to climate change – and approximately four million died each year, because of the unsafe cooking conditions. This is partly due to the disappearing forest, as women in rural parts of Africa, are forced to use other alternative to firewood, and/or task the Girl child with traveling far distance to fetch firewood – forcing them in the hands of sexual predators.

High-Level Event on Climate ChangeThe other reason is that the unsafe cooking conditions greatly contribute to higher levels of CO2 emissions in the environment. The traditional practice of cooking in a rudimentary stove not only affects her health, and but it also affects the health of her children – while posing a larger threat to the global environment.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I ask that while we discuss the best practices for protecting the Climate that we make another investment in protecting the lives of 3 Billion people in the world who cook over open fires every day.

The health impacts of cooking on rudimentary stoves is so deadly and the direct impact of the smoke that comes from these poor cooking practices must change – to ensure the safest and the continued protection of our climate – beyond COP21 Paris.

Thank you Mr. President.

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