Global Gender and Climate Alliance / Women for Environment and Development (Finland)
Aira Kalela studied at the Faculty of Social Science of the Helsinki University and graduated with a Masters degree in political. She continued at the Political Science Institute of University of Helsinki as Assistant Professor, visiting Lecturer and Associate Professor. Thereafter, Ms. Kalela worked ten years at the International Department of the Ministry of Education and held the position of Secretary General of the Finnish National Commission for Unesco. She also worked for the Finnish relations with OECD and Council of Europe.
In 1993, Ms. Kalela was nominated as the first Director for International Cooperation of the new Finnish Ministry of the Environment, where she established the Finnish international environmental policy and led international negotiations in the field of climate change, sustainable development and environment. She has also worked as Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Combating Desertification in Bonn, as a Special Representative for Gender and Climate Change of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Senior Advisor of the Global Gender and Climate Alliance / Women for Environment and Development. Since 2012, she has worked as a senior advisor on sustainable development at the office of H.E. Tarja Halonen, Former President of the Republic of Finland.
Ms. Kalela is engaged in promoting the equality and empowerment of women, particularly their active participation in combating climate change. She organized the first Women Environment Ministers and Leaders Meeting on Sustainable Development in Helsinki (2002) in preparation for the Johannesburg Sustainable Development Summit and negotiated more than 40 references on the role of women in promoting sustainable development in the Johannesburg Action Plan. Her work with the Global Gender and Climate Alliance has lead to the adoption of a major gender decision by the Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC in 2012 and several decisions on nine of the Climate Convention’s major programs.