Nigeria’s Environment Minister, Amina Mohammed, was among 13 women photographed by Vogue, as part of a feature on the formidable women leading the way in the climate change fight.
The United Nations holds an annual summit on climate change, which is now in its 21st year, called the Conference of the Parties (COP21) and this year’s summit began in Paris on Monday, November 30, 2015. Vogue Magazine is spotlighting the women involved in this year’s summit, including Mohammed, fellow Nigerian Priscilla Achakpa, an environmental activist and Executive Director of the Women Environmental Programme, and Chad’s Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim.
“In Africa, you don’t just think about the children that you bear,” says Amina Mohammed, special adviser on post-2015 development planning to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in the publication. “Every child is yours.”
Ms. Amina J. Mohammed is a key player in the post-2015 development process, serving as the Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on post-2015 development planning. In this role, she acts as the link between the Secretary-General, his High Level Panel of Eminent Persons (HLP), and the General Assembly’s Open Working Group (OWG), among other stakeholders.
She previously worked as senior adviser to the President of Nigeria on Millennium Development Goals for six years. In this position, she was in charge of designing and developing government projects to reduce poverty around the country. Between 2002 and 2005, she worked in the United Nations Millennium Project as a coordinator of the Task Force on Gender and Education. Ms. Mohammed has also served on many international advisory boards and panels such as the Gates Foundation and the UN Secretary General’s Global Sustainability Panel.
Priscilla Achakpa is an environmental activist from Nigeria. As executive director of the Women Environmental Programme, Achakpa has introduced thousands of women to sustainable solutions to everyday problems, such as waste-to-energy machines that can process rice husks.
Achakpa says in the publication: “The impact of climate change on women is huge. The men are forced to migrate and they leave the women, who are now the caregivers because they find they cannot leave the children . . . We don’t want a top-down solution. We want bottom-up. But we need to be at the table.”
Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim is from the Sahel region of Chad, where devastating droughts and floods are now the norm. As cochair of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change, Ibrahim works to contain the humanitarian and ecological fallout from the vanishing of Lake Chad, a lifeline for an estimated 30 million people in Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Niger.
“If women come together, they can have more impact than any agreement, than any negotiations,” says Ibrahim. “Because we know that the future—it’s coming from us.”