Women, represented by the Women Major Group, play a vital role in achieving sustainable development through promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. Women stand at the frontline in terms of poverty, yet they provide invaluable contributions to sustaining communities around the world and managing the Earth’s biodiversity and natural resources. UNEP has been working since 1985 towards highlighting the important role that women play in sustainable development and adopted the Decision 23/11 on Gender Equality in the Field of Environment. 

The Women's Major Group at UNEP is coordinated by global and regional focal points, from among the women and environment civil society organisations accredited to UNEP. Two global representatives are elected from among these organisation for a period of two years, aiming at regional and thematic balance.

The Women's Major Group at UNEP is self-organised and open to all interested organisations working for gender equality and women's rights and participation in environmental policies and sustainable development. The Women's Major Group prepares policy recommendations and organises capacity building and policy events during UNEA and regional meetings of UNEP. The Women's Major Group coordinates closely with the secretariat of the "Network for Women Ministers and Leaders for the Environment" based at UNEP, as well as with the other "Major Groups and Stakeholders" accredited to UNEP, as well as to other United Nations policy processes, for example the Sustainable Development and Climate policy processes.

To see policy document or contact the Women's Major Group, visit their website at www.womenrio20.org

Publication: "Women and the environment"

"Women and the environment” results from a partnership between UNEP and the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO). An international advocacy organization, WEDO works to achieve a healthy and peaceful planet, seeking environmental, social, political and economic justice for all through women’s empowerment and equal participation in decision-making, from the local to the global arenas.

“Women and the environment” makes the often hidden links between women and the environment visible, with an explicit focus on the gender-related aspects of land, water and biodiversity conservation and management. It aims to inspire the environmental and sustainable development community to better understand the importance of gender, and to integrate a gender perspective across all of its work.

Women and the Environment is based on 20 years of experience in this field, on existing publications and expertise, and on consultation between organizations and networks. A peer review meeting held in Nairobi on 17 and 18 November 2003 brought together 14 experts who shaped the development of the publication and its recommendations. Case histories submitted by women from around the world document with great clarity how women’s knowledge and dedication are vital to sustainable environmental management.

Accredited organizations

Find here a list of all Women's organizations accredited with the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) of UNEP.