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Environmental sustainability and equality: dilemma or opportunity?

Pollution does not discriminate but its impact do. Being a man, a woman, a child, a person with disabilities or part of vulnerable and marginalised group is often a decisive factor in determining the levels of risk faced from environmental degradation, climate change and pollution. This session aims at starting a conversation on how improvements in people’s lives can be sustained in an era of environmental and climate instability. We need to understand the inequalities, different needs, vulnerabilities, roles and capacities of men and women in order to have more inclusive environmentally sustainable solutions to the benefit of people.

How to make sure that everyone has equal opportunity when it comes to access to natural resources, healthy environment, environmental risk reduction, distribution of food and energy, participation in green economy, as well as access to capacity and technology?
Do we need a collective consciousness about equality?
How to navigate the inevitable trade-offs?
How to gather meaningful data?
How to push for principles and values to prevail over cynicism and pragmatism?


  • Joanna Drake, Deputy Director-General, Directorate General for Environment, European Commission
  • Carlien Scheele, Director of European Institute for Gender Equality ( EIGE)
  • Patrizia Heidegger, Director for Global Policies and Sustainability, European Environmental Bureau ( EEB)
  • Michael O’Flaherty, Director, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
  • Matthias Berninger, Senior Vice President Public Affairs & Sustainability, Bayer
  • Elizabeth Werner, Deputy Secretary-General and Head of the Equality Taskforce of the European Commission


Link to FR version of the video presentation

High level session
Session 7.1
Start Date
End Date
Main programme
Room 1