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“We want to work on the environment so that we can leave a legacy for our children”

Interview with Kalyani Raj of All India Women’s Conference

01.12.2014 |

Kalyani Raj (right) at the UNFCCC

Kalyani Raj is from Delhi, India and works as a volunteer for the organisation All India Women’s Conference. She attended the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference Of the Parties (COP) 19 in Warsaw last year. Claire Greensfelder, senior Advisor on Climate and Energy for WECF, interviewed her on her work and her motivations.

What motivates you to do this work?
“I feel there is an urgency that something needs to be done about climate change. Why it is not being done I really do not know. I sometimes feel that the politicians take a slow pace on their own. Because of my work at the grassroots level I know that more work can be done there. We do not need to wait for the policy makers to come and tell us what to do and we can update our knowledge about mitigation and can update our knowledge about adaptation. What we want to do is to work on the environment and the energy so that we can leave a legacy for our children. As for the policy makers, they should work it out with each other. They should remove all their defences and come to some solutions.”

Has it been useful for your work at home to be here at the UNFCCC COP?
“It is important for me to have access to the international processes.  It is very important for me to be able to influence my national government.  If I am here and they are taking a stand that we do not agree with we can speak to them about it. In fact, I did meet with the Indian delegation. It is not very difficult to meet with your government here and it shows how serious you are.

Last year I was in Doha and that was my first experience with the UNFCCC. I saw the process that was taking place at the negotiations and I thought I could do some work at the national level in India on climate change. So this year we were a little more prepared for this COP. We were involved with the submission on Gender at the COP. India only made a submission on Article 2 so we worked with our environmental minister on this. We spent a year on this at home and got the government of India to make a submission on Gender this time. To get them to do it is not easy, but AIWC has a good history of working on environmental issues.

Another good thing is that I am able to connect with other south Asian NGOs from   Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. As a result, we have started a meeting to consider becoming a South Asian NGO women’s group. That’s what I love about the COPs; every second you are learning and doing something new. I hope I will be back here at the UNFCCC. It is also great working with WECF.  They are very supportive. They do not dictate what you should do. I find it very good, the way that they work as a team.” 

Read the full interview here.

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