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“It is important to work at the community level as I am sceptical the high level people will change something”

Interview with Elina Doszhanova of the Social Ecological Fund

10.11.2014 |

Elina Doszhanova (left) at the UNFCCC

Elina Doszhanova (31) is from Almaty, Kazakhstan and the executive director of the organisation Social Ecological Fund. 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 organisation and the importance of being present at the UNFCCC.

How did you become involved with the Social Ecological Fund?
“I worked for international organisations, banks and local businesses, but with two kids and a family I could not devote as much time as needed to work in such a competitive environment. Then I got reconnected with Kaisha, who is a prominent environmental leader and ecologist in Kazakhstan and also my friend and I started working with her new organisation, the Social Ecological Fund. That was back in 2008 after she received the Goldman Environmental Prize. In 2012 I was appointed as the Executive Director of Social Ecological Fund. The work of the organisation is project based and is part of a larger network, the EcoForum NGO Network of Kazakhstan."

Was it important for you to take part in the UNFCCC here in Warsaw?
“Definitely yes. It was important because each time I participate in these international forums I learn more about the mechanics of the actual negotiation process and I also meet new people so I can expand my network. This time it was great to meet more active women participating in the WECF Leadership Training programme. It is also a great opportunity to do networking and planning of joint work together with other NGOS, especially since I represent not just my organisation but also the entire EcoForum network of Kazakhstan.

WECF has always been supporting me and my colleagues to attend international conferences, and this time it was here in Warsaw. It is helpful to be at the UNFCCC, because climate is a priority area for our organisation and our network’s working group on climate. I am quite sceptical that this high level people will really bring a positive change concerning the future of our planet. That is why it is so important for us to push for changes towards the low carbon development path and having less fossil fuel at our community level. That we walked out at the COP19 in protest of the lack of action being taken by the governments was the best thing on the trip. I had never experienced anything like this. Making a decision to walk out was one that I had never faced before. That was something new and different.”

Read the full interview here.

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