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"Women Organize for Inclusion in Upcoming Climate Talks"

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Washington, DC (12/4/09) - A group of women leaders and activists developed a strategy to make sure underserved communities and women of color are properly embedded in any new climate protocol during a roundtable discussion in Washington, DC on Thursday. Several of the organizations participating in the briefing at the Gaylord National Hotel on the Potomac in Maryland are sending representatives to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

Co-hosted by Black Women's Roundtable (BWR), National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (EJCC), The Road to Copenhagen Intergenerational Roundtable Discussion, was a pre-conference planning session for the UN Climate Conference. The group will also host two conference calls for members of the grassroots delegation to report from Copenhagen (12/9 and 12/16), and a post conference briefing in Washington, DC in early January.

The roundtable discussion was held during NCNW’s 54th National Convention where the NCNW chair and president emerita, Dr. Dorothy I. Height, welcomed the participants and expressed pride that NCNW will be represented at “an international event that President Obama will attend.”

Dr. Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, Center for Community and Economic Justice, pointed out to the young women and those new to international environmental negotiations that Black women have a long history in this arena dating back to the 1970's with HUD Secretary Patricia Harris. “Under my leadership of Black Leadership Forum participated in the UN Climate Conference in The Hague and held a Climate Summit at the UN Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa.”

Executive director and CEO of the National Coalition and convener of BWR, Melanie L. Campbell, connected BWR’s post-Katrina work in the Gulf Coast as an introduction to the new climate initiative. “During Black Women’s Roundtable Listening Tour though the Gulf Coast after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we visited so many women who were the backbones of the family. They were the rock that kept their husbands and sons going during those difficult times,” Campbell said.

Felicia M. Davis, GenderCC North America Focal Point and member of BWR, “Women suffer more from the effects of climate change; whether it is hurricanes, floods, fires and drought in the US or tsunamis in far away Asia, so we are headed to Copenhagen to make sure that women's voices are heard. Black women are leading the effort for gender equity in domestic climate policy and we're working with women from every corner of the globe to mainstream gender in the international negotiations," adds Davis, the coordinator of the delegation.

In addition to The National Coalition, BWR, EJCC, and NCNW, organization’s sending representatives to Copenhagen include: Bennett College, Tandeka, LLC, Responsible Endowment Coalition, and the NAACP. The Atlanta Daily World and DogonVillage.com are sending correspondents to cover activities hosted by the delegation as well as President Obama’s address.

People from around the world are going to the Climate Conference in Copenhagen hoping to emerge with a Copenhagen Protocol to prevent global warming and climate change. Last week the White House announced that President Obama and a U. S. Delegation comprised of top officials, will attend the conference in Copenhagen. Additionally, for the first time, the U. S. Delegation will also set up a U. S. Center at the conference.

According to a White House Office of the Press Secretary press statement, “The President has worked steadily on behalf of a positive outcome in Copenhagen throughout the year. …The President’s decision to go is a sign of his continuing commitment and leadership to find a global solution to the global threat of climate change, and to lay the foundation for a new, sustainable and prosperous clean energy future.”

Nia Robinson, executive director of EJCC adds, “President Obama has upped the anty for Copenhagen by appearing early in the negotiations. His presence signals the world that the US is back, and the high level delegation proves that he is serious about moving the agenda forward. Our goal is to ensure that principles of environmental justice are embedded in the final document.”

A leader in domestic climate action, EJCC is a national coalition of over thirty environmental and climate justice, advocacy, faith-based and other social justice organizations. The nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots organization is committed to informing youth of color about the issue of global warming and climate justice.

The Black Women's Roundtable is an intergenerational civic engagement network of the National Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing African American participation in civil society. The Black Women’s Roundtable Healthy, Wealthy & Wise National Policy Forum Series is a national roundtable tour designed to provide women with strategies and tools proven effective in addressing critical issues confronting Black women and girls. In order to reach the widest audience possible, each forum will be webcast through BWR networks across the country.

To keep up with the delegation to the UN Climate Conference view photos, video and blog posts at http://beyondcopenhagen.ning.com.

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