Several women, who served on the United Nation’s environmental task forces — specifically those in charge of spearheading climate change negotiations — say they were the victims of sexual harassment that went on for years, even at the highest levels of the U.N.’s environmental operation.
Speaking to Climate Change News on the condition of anonymity, several women say that while working to help the U.N. address climate change, they became subject to all sorts of untoward behavior from the U.N.’s climate scientists and senior officials — and it became so bad that leaders of current climate change talks had to draw up “zero tolerance policies” so that women would be protected when they came forward with complaints.
November’s Climate Change Summit in Bonn, Germany, was a particular hotbed. At least two women say they were subject to “advances” from men they met in a “professional capacity.” One woman complained that a “prominent scientist” who attended the conference leered at her and stared at her breasts before telling her she was a “pretty young lady.”
Senior U.N. climate negotiators were among the most lascivious, Climate Change News reports. One woman claims to have had two separate interactions with U.N. negotiators: one, where a senior negotiator invited her up to his hotel room to discuss strategy, only to suggest they sit on the bed, and then touch her inappropriately as she escaped. Another, the same woman claims, planted an unwanted kiss on her mouth at a metro stop on the way to a meeting.
The U.N., the women say, hasn’t done much to address the problem. Two female officials at the helm of the negotiations tried to institute a zero tolerance policy, but it requires that women report harassment to security officers, who the women claim are part of the problem. The left-leaning Climate Action Network tried to suggest a “toolkit” for women at events, but couldn’t find enough private security to protect their own delegates.
They also clam U.N. leadership has told them that, while sexual harassment is an issue, the issue at hand, climate change, is more pressing and important, so they just have to deal with the creepy men around them.