COP20 Closing Statement: You have negotiated only which lives, communities and lands will be lost!


LIMA PERU (December 14, 2014)-- At the close of COP20, two days behind schedule, Carmen Capriles delivered the statement prepared by Marina Parvin, from the Indigenous Mundas community in Bangladesh and representing the Asian Pacific Forum for Women in Law and Development (APWLD), to bleary-eyed delegates around 3:00 AM in the closing moments of the extended negotiating session:

“I have travelled all the way from Bangladesh, leaving my home and family, hoping to see a commitment to an effective and equitable new agreement that is binding, ambitious and transformative; a commitment to uphold human rights, gender equality, and the rights of future generations.”

Parvin continued: “It pains me that when I go back, I will tell my people that wealthy governments just talked about which lands will be lost, communities displaced, cultures destroyed and which lives are less important.”

Read the full statement below:

Thank you Chair. I am Marina Pervin, from Bangladesh, where up to 20 million people may be displaced by 2020.

For the Indigenous Mundas women that I work closely with, poverty and extreme vulnerability are a daily reality. We no longer have any soil to plant, and we fight harder and harder to make our families and communities survive floods, salinity, droughts and typhoons.

I expected that negotiations would lead to an agreement that will assure the Mundas women and all women, children and men, the right to imagine a future. I have travelled all the way from Bangladesh, leaving my home and family, hoping to see:

  • a commitment to an effective and equitable new agreement that is binding, ambitious and transformative;
  • a commitment to uphold human rights, gender equality, and the rights of future generations.

I am deeply horrified to see you negotiating away women’s futures, women’s rights and the security of our planet. It pains me that when I go back, I will tell my people that wealthy governments just talked about which lands will be lost, communities displaced, cultures destroyed and which lives are less important.

It shocks me that even gender equality was traded away. Ministers, don’t’ backtrack! You have mandates established over twenty years ago through the Beijing Platform for Action and other international conventions. Restore your commitment to women’s rights. Ensure gender equality as a guiding principle for the new agreement.

We simply cannot achieve a sustainable, just and livable planet without gender equality and there can be no gender equality on a dead planet.

Your lack of urgency and will in this meeting has left us dismayed. But it’s not too late. You must shape a new future and design a new world –redistribute wealth, power, resources and opportunities to allow Mundas women to imagine a future.

Ministers, you have to prove that all life is important. We will not allow you to fail us.

Thank you

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