Taking the Global Call to Action on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, Climate Change and Importance of School Feeding

Apr 13, 2008

imageTaking the Global Call to Action on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, Climate Change and Importance of School Feeding

Kathmandu, 13th April 2008- The biggest all-female expedition to climb Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) begins on 17 April 2008. The expedition consists of 10 women, representing a range of castes and ethnic groups in Nepal. The women will climb the world's highest peak to show that they are equally skilled, courageous and strong as male climbers. They will also draw attention to gender equality and women empowerment, the effects of climate change in the Himalayas as well as raise awareness about the millions of children who go to school hungry in Asia.

The Embassy of Denmark announced today at a press conference that it will give USD 25,000 to the expedition. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through support from the European Commission(EC) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have provided nearly a quarter of the total expedition cost.

The expedition will carry a MDG 3 (United Nations Millennium Development Goal 3) banner, handed over today by His Excellency, Mr. Finn Thilsted, Ambassador of Denmark to Nepal. The MDG 3 is to Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women.

His Excellency, Mr. Finn Thilsted, Ambassador of Denmark to Nepal said, 'To achieve sustainable development, it is important to promote women's economic and political empowerment. Women must be a driving force for development and Danish development assistance focuses on this, for example by giving women access to micro-credit which is a first important step to women's empowerment. We support also girls' and women's rights to education and land which are equally important for women to contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction.'

'We hope that the expedition will be successful in unfurling the banner at the summit of Sagarmatha. We very much look forward to getting pictures of the banner at the top of the world which will be a strong symbol of the empowerment of all women throughout the world'.

'We expect the expedition to bring back updated information of the major environmental changes which have been observed in the past years, from the bottom to the top of Sagarmatha,' says UNDP Country Director in Nepal, Ms. Anne-Isabelle Degryse-Blateau. 'We hope the expedition's observations will provide additional ideas on how to ecologically better manage and preserve the unique tourist and world heritage site.'

Ms. Susmita Maskey, Coordinator and Team Leader, First Inclusive Women Sagarmatha Expedition 2008 said, 'We will like to thank the Government of Denmark, UNDP, WFP, the BP Koirala Foundation and all our other contributors. The financial support enables us to make this historic expedition and raise awareness of many critical issues facing Nepal.'

In addition, the expedition will draw attention to the millions of children in Asia who go to school hungry every day. One of the members of the expedition, Ms. Nimodoma Sherpa who had received support from a WFP feeding programme in the past said, 'As a WFP beneficiary, I feel honoured that I can help raise awareness about the significant role that school feeding plays in improving the lives of children.' The expedition will place WFP's Red Cup flag on the top of Sagarmatha.

The members of the expedition hope that their efforts will not only open up mountaineering to all Nepalese but will also encourage women from all communities to work together to pursue their goals.

Background: Gender Equality and Women's Economic Empowerment is one of the priorities of Danish development assistance. On 7th March 2008 in Copenhagen, the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Ms. Ulla T'rn's launched the MDG 3 Global Call to Action on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women - an initiative by the Government of Denmark to place gender equality and women's empowerment (MDG 3) high on the international agenda in order to accelerate the fulfillment of all eight MDGs.

Contact Information

Embassy of Denmark: bansha@um.dk; +977 98510 10894
UNDP: Sangita.khadka@undp.org; +977-1-5523200 ext. 1077
WFP: Heather.Sutliff@wfp.org; +977-1-5542607