FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 4 November, 2022
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A coalition of feminist activists from the Women & Gender Constituency (WGC), one of the nine official UNFCCC observer groups, has launched a set of collective demands for climate justice ahead of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), to be held in Egypt from 6-18 November.
Composed of 34 official organizational members and more than 600 activists from all regions of the world, the WGC put forward eight key demands calling for increased ambition and action to meet climate change goals, while addressing the specific needs of women, girls, and gender-expansive people.
“With the climate negotiations back on the African continent for the first time in six years, we have an opportunity to center the experiences of African women and girls,” said Gertrude Kenyangi, Executive Director of Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment in Uganda and a Member of the Women & Gender Constituency Facilitative Committee. “Patriarchal norms mean that we women and girls face specific challenges, from the exploitation of our knowledge for commercial gain, to being on the frontlines of defending our lands and resources. And we are also pioneering unique climate solutions–such as agro-ecological models–that center the wellbeing of both people and nature.”
“As we witness the EU-led promotion of new oil and gas extraction across Africa, as well as the global transition to renewable energy, we must make sure to center Africa’s energy needs in these discussions,” said Faith Lumonya, Economic Justice and Climate Action Programme Officer at Akina Mama wa Afrika. “For this reason, we are calling on EU and other members to pull out of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), which contains outdated investment protection standards that allow foreign investors to challenge a wide range of public policy measures. We must guarantee that investment in the energy transition does not leave Africa energy poorer than it already is.”
Related COP27 Press Conference: African Women’s & Girls’ Demands (7 Nov,
10-10:30 AM, Press Conference Room – Luxor, Area B, Hybrid)
In addition to bolstering the regional demands from the African Feminist Taskforce, a collective of members within and beyond the Constituency, the WGC is calling on the UNFCCC to advance gender-just climate action through the implementation of its five-year gender action plan (GAP). The GAP was initiated in2019, and this yearParties will conduct a mid-term review of progress on the GAP.
“Outcomes at COP27 under the gender agenda item must acknowledge the current realities the world faces and update activities to best respond to areas where progress is lacking,” said Bridget Burns, Co-Focal Point of the Women and Gender Constituency and Director of the Women’s Environment and Development Organization. “This includes responding to how Covid-19 has exacerbated gender inequalities, recognizing the increasing impacts of climate loss and damage on women and girls, and acknowledging the lack of climate finance reaching grassroots and indigenous women and communities.”
Advocates from the WGC have joined wider calls from civil society organizations and Member States to recognize, redress and compensate for loss and damage—the immediate and unequal climate-related destruction that is occurring beyond any attempts at adaptation. This includes establishing a standalone finance facility to address loss and damage, recognizing the historical responsibilities and ecological debt of rich and industrialized countries, and centering the most marginalized communities.
“Loss and damage is high on the COP27 agenda this year, but we must take into account gender vulnerabilities and mainstream gender in every aspect of these discussions” said Sylvia Dorbor, a UNFCCC negotiator for Liberia. “Sometimes men are the ones benefiting from the insurance system while women are the ones actually working on farms and doing the agricultural work. Sometimes social cultural norms mean that women can’t swim, or they can’t climb trees when we have sea level rise or flood. The impacts on men and women are different, and they must be considered in any decisions on loss and damage.”
“In years past, progress on Loss and Damage has ultimately been blocked by wealthy countries, namely the United States,” said Diana Duarte, Director of Policy and Strategic Engagement for MADRE and co-lead of the policy working group of the Feminist Green New Deal coalition. “It’s time that the U.S. in particular, which has played a large role in perpetuating the climate crisis, resource those already experiencing devastating climate impacts. This means supporting public, grants-based finance that centers resource redistribution to frontline communities.”
The sponsorship of COP27 by Coca-Cola, a company that has been called out as one of the world’s top plastic polluters, has highlighted broader concerns of corporate sponsorship and influence within the UNFCCC. The demands from the Women & Gender Constituency similarly call attention to the need to dismantle “false solutions” to climate change—deemed so by climate justice civil society organisations, activists, and advocates—marketed by rich corporations and countries.
“Whether it be an emphasis on net zero, carbon trading and offsets, or Nature-based Solutions (NbS), these false solutions distract us from the real solutions we need to invest in,” said Gina Cortes, Co-Focal Point of the Women and Gender Constituency. “Innovation from a feminist perspective challenges power dynamics and redistributes decision-making spaces so that all have a say in building a desirable world together. Our solutions based on principles from care economy, degrowth, ‘El Buen Vivir’, and agroecology, among many others, must be featured and resourced.”
Related COP27 Press Conference: Accelerating a Feminist Green New Deal (11 Nov, 14:00-14:30 PM, Press Conference Room 2, Blue Zone)
Related COP27 Press Conference: Gender Just Climate Solutions (15 Nov, 12-12:30 PM, Luxor, Area B, Hybrid)
About the Women & Gender Constituency
The Women & Gender Constituency is one of the nine official civil society constituency groups under the UNFCCC. The WGC works to coordinate the views and demands of women’s rights, gender equality and feminist organizations within the UNFCCC process. WGC work is collective in nature and organized via a Facilitative (Steering) Committee.