February 27, 2024

The president of Azerbaijan has added 11 women to the previously all-male organising committee for the Cop29 global climate summit, which the country will host in December.

The move follows a backlash after the Guardian reported the initial 28-man composition of the committee, which was called “regressive” by the She Changes Climate campaign group. “Climate change affects the whole world, not half of it,” the group said.

Christiana Figueres, the UN’s climate chief when the historic Paris agreement was delivered in 2015, had called the all-male panel “shocking and unacceptable”.

President Ilham Aliyev also added a further two men to the committee, which now comprises 30 men and 11 women. Among the women added are Umayra Taghiyeva, the deputy minister of ecology and natural resources, the human rights commissioner, Sabina Aliyeva, and Bahar Muradova, the chair of the state committee on family, women and children’s problems.

Almost all members of the Cop29 committee are government ministers or officials, including the head of the state security service. The head of Azerbaijan’s state gas distribution network is also on the committee.

Cop29 will be the second year in a row that the UN’s most important climate talks will be hosted by a petrostate heavily reliant on fossil fuel production, after Cop28 was held in the United Arab Emirates.

The Cop29 president-designate, who will be responsible for bringing together countries to drive climate action, is Mukhtar Babayev, the minister of ecology and natural resources.

Babayev previously spent 26 years working for the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (Socar). Azerbaijan plans to increase its fossil fuel production by a third over the next decade, the Guardian revealed recently.

Scientists say a rapid fall in fossil fuel burning is vital to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis and 2023 was the hottest year on record by a huge margin.

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The Cop28 president was Sultan Al Jaber, who was also the chief executive of the UAE’s state oil company, Adnoc, which led to accusations of conflicts of interest.

Cop28 produced an agreement by countries to transition away from fossil fuels, the first time the cause of the climate crisis had been mentioned in a decision text. After Cop28, Al Jaber said he would continue with his oil company’s expansion of oil and gas production.

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