Friday, 27 August 2010

Six-O Group and Climate Change

This week I've taken part in the second of our biannual meetings of the Six-O Group. This meeting is an informal gathering of the leaders of the six largest women's organisations in the UK, which are: The National Federation of Women's Institutes, Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland, The Townswomen's Guild, Business and Professional Women Foundation, British Federation of Women Graduates and National Council for Women Great Britain.

The meetings are a chance to catch up on what each organisation is working on at any given time with a view to strengthening the message, but also to learn from each other. One of the big issues we tackled was the huge but illusive problem of Human Trafficking. With the Olympic Games now in haling distance this issue will grow. Is that something many people would think about with the excitement of the Olympic Games coming to our country, I wonder?

We also discussed the environment, something that is never far away from the conscience of many a WI member. Have you seen our latest Climate Change Action Pack on how you can be involved in actions to improve that very environment? Which reminds me, the government and the media both seem to have gone very quiet on the issue of Climate Change? What is happening there I wonder Mr Huhne? At the Copenhagen summit the wealthy counties pledged to provide $100 billion by 2020 so that the poorer countries might adapt to the impact of climate change. What is happening there, I wonder. And all we marched for in the Wave on 5 December last year has not changed – well, hardly at all. That's the trouble. There has to be a way forward by the time the Mexico summit happens.

I've been doing some clearing of papers in the last week and amongst them I found a booklet, put out in 1999 by the then Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions. The opening line from "Climate Change – Draft UK Programme Summary" reads, "In the last decades of the old century, the world has learnt some hard environmental lessons". We can equally well say that in the first decade of the new century those lessons have been compounded with the result of inaction. The summary of a decade ago is more or less the summary of today. But I know members have been taking action for the last 10 years that does help the situation; don't stop. We have to change to halt the changes that have sadly already happened with the climate of their land for many millions across the world.