COP28 Press Release: The end of the era of fossil fuels is here, but the fight for climate justice remains


12 December 2023
Zukiswa White,
Bridget Burns, | WhatsApp/Signal +1-914-310-3270
Gina Cortes, 

Dubai, United Arab Emirates
—The Women and Gender Constituency shares the following reflections on the outcomes at COP28. We foreground our work as we have in this space with a deep commitment to dismantling oppression and inequalities, bearing witness to genocide and occupation—to the atrocities perpetrated on Palestine, Sudan and Congo and in many regions around the world, which are perpetrated by militarized, fossil fuel driven colonial powers. We demand that there can be no climate justice on occupied land, no climate justice without human rights—and we call to cease ALL fires now.

The outcomes at COP28 reaffirm a process that does not serve communities around the world in desperate need of a historical course correction to ensure our collective survival. As movements, we fought hard—and continue to fight—for the end of the era of fossil fuels in a just and equitable manner, and towards a transition that centers human rights, gender equality and care. It should not have taken this many years to call for a transition away from fossil fuels. While critical, this outcome, full of false solutions and dangerous distractions, threatens any hope of keeping 1.5 alive and undermines the very survival of people on this planet.

An outcome that does not clearly state an end to the extractive system that has been harming, murdering, and destroying lands and bodies across the majority of the world cannot be applauded as delivering gender justice. An outcome that fails to center ambition in implementation and rebuild the essential trust and global solidarity needed for real climate action—with a clear commitment to new and additional grant-based public finance—is an outcome with no equity, no gender equality and no climate justice.

On the Global Stocktake:

“While the power of the people has allowed us to finally include after 30 years the reference to transitioning out of fossil fuels in a COP outcome text, sending an important signal that the days of the polluters are numbered, the fight is not over. The GST, in taking a step forward, also brings us backwards and opens the door to dangerous distractions such as carbon capture and storage, nuclear, and other false solutions and loopholes in the form of ‘transition fuels’ and net-zero approaches. This is not the full, fair, fast, fully funded, feminist fossil fuels phaseout we need  to keep 1.5 alive and for the very survival of people on this planet.  And although the GST does acknowledge the importance of gender-responsive approaches as the way for climate action going forward, references to protect, respect and promote human rights are largely missing from the GST decision and not guiding its mandates and commitments as a cross-cutting obligation and framing  moving forward. For example, it does not call on Parties to strengthen the collection and use of gender-disaggregated data in their next round of NDCs.” – Mwanahamisi Singano, Global Policy Lead, WEDO

On Finance:

“In Dubai, there were no new commitments on finance provided from developed to developing countries to support their climate ambition, while old ones, like the $100 billion goal, still remain unfulfilled. Developed countries in every climate finance negotiation room downplayed, if not openly denied their historical responsibility and obligation to play, pushing instead for voluntary contributions and claiming that private sector and carbon market revenues would fill the massive and growing financing gaps.” – Tetet Lauron, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung

“We are very disappointed as feminists that we have not made any major strides here in pushing for financing for human-rights based, gender-transformative, locally-led climate action with simplified and direct access. Very little money is accessible to and reaches people and communities on the forefront of climate change, including women and diverse gender groups in local communities. It will be even more important after the finance failures here at COP28 that the New  Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) on climate finance to be approved at next year’s COP is responding to needs and the science and is negotiated throughout the year in a participatory and inclusive manner with the meaningful engagement and participation of women and diverse gender groups, Indigenous Peoples, and other groups historically marginalized and excluded.” – Tara Daniel, Senior Program Manager, WEDO

On Loss and Damage: 

“While we recognize the decision on the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund, we should not leave here feeling that on Loss and Damage we have met our goal. We’re hearing hundreds of millions pledged so far and not all of this is new and additional. The need is in the hundred of billions. We also hear the claim by developed countries that they have no responsibility to pay for Loss and Damage – this is a denial of climate justice, their climate debt  and historical responsibility. Financing to address Loss and Damage must be included in the new finance goal next year, the new collective quantified goal (NCQG), as the third pillar of finance with funding additional to support for mitigation and adaptation.” – Liane Schalatek, Associate Director, Heinrich Böll Foundation

On Just Transition:

“As feminists, we view a just transition as crucial to achieving systems change, addressing planetary health, resolving the climate crisis and associated injustices, transforming social institutions, reconfiguring power in public and private spheres, and reinventing global governance with a central focus on well-being over material wealth. We had high hopes and specific demands for the Just Transition Work Programme, including that it deliver consideration of care work, respect for human rights, respect for labor rights, robust provisions for social dialogue and civil society participation, and strong, implementable decisions to facilitate international cooperation on accelerating the global just transition under the principles of equity and CBDR.  We are deeply disappointed that the Just Transition Work Programme has become yet another talking shop without proper outcomes – one where rights are removed, ignored, watered down, or absent altogether. We emphasize the need for a Just Transition Work Programme that prioritizes care and delivers strong outcomes, meaningful social dialogue and respect for human and labor rights.” – Ayshka Najib, WGC MENA Feminist Taskforce

On Adaptation:

Communities around the world, including women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and Indigenous peoples, suffer the first and worst impacts of climate change. They are in urgent need of adaptation actions to help them survive and thrive in a rapidly changing environment. We are incredibly disappointed to see that Parties at COP28 are struggling to agree on key elements that are vital for the most vulnerable to build their adaptive capacity and enhance their resilience. We emphasize the need for an urgent scale-up of adaptation finance that is easy-to-access, long-term, and trackable. This should be in line with developed countries’ commitment to at least double the provision of adaptation finance by 2025, while acknowledging that the actual adaptation finance gap is much larger, therefore the doubling of adaptation finance is a floor. It is also clear that developing countries need finance, technology transfer, and capacity building to formulate and implement their National Adaptation Plans, and track and measure their adaptation actions. It is, therefore, all the more disappointing that Parties cannot agree to a standing agenda item on the Global Goal on Adaptation, tracking and accountability of finance commitments, and adequate support towards developing countries.” – WGC Adaptation Working Group

On Article 6, Cooperative approaches for Market-based and non-Market based approaches approaches

“The negotiations about cooperative approaches under Article 6 have shown, similar to other areas, how dangerous distractions could make their way into the implementation of the Paris Agreement. We reject efforts to include market-based such as carbon pricing and carbon taxes under the negotiations on non-market mechanisms. We also support that no decisions were taken  for sub-items related to market approaches that would see unregulated and intransparent carbon markets. The shortcomings of  the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol  must not be repeated.  We underline that no decision is by far better than bad decisions that impose risks to the integrity of the 1.5°C objective as well as adverse social and environmental impacts to the grassroots communities. Activities under the market approaches  must not start before safeguards, an independent and accessible grievance mechanism, as well as watertight methodologies and guidelines are in place.” – Hwei Mian Lim, Independent Advisor

On Agriculture:

Women make up 43% of the agricultural labor force and are responsible for half of the world’s food production, but face discrimination when it comes to land and livestock ownership, equal access to credit, and much more. Women are food security multipliers, with a UN Special Rapporteur report finding that improving education for women is the single most important determinant of food security. And yet, while Parties discussed false solutions such as climate-smart agriculture, artificial intelligence, and sustainable intensification at length, gender considerations received little to no attention. We are disappointed to see no outcome yet again on such an important issue, and to see gender, as has become the norm for this thematic area, be sidelined and ignored. We need Parties to come to SB60 with a plan for achieving a substantive, implementable decision this time next year.” – Gertrude Kenyangi, Executive Director, Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN)

On Technology:

“We welcome the endorsement of an updated gender policy and action plan for the CTCN, aimed at enhancing gender considerations in climate technology development and transfer, including the launch of a new roster of gender experts. However we are very concerned about the emphasis put on Artificial Intelligence for climate action, both in the new joint work programme of the Technology Mechanism and in the decision on the Joint Annual Report. This decision recognises the strong risks linked with the use of AI, but it fails to ensure  appropriate safeguards for ecosystems and human rights.” – Anne Barre, Coordinator, Gender and Climate Policy, WECF International

On the Gender Agenda Item:

“We remain very concerned with the lack of ambition Parties are bringing to this agenda item, The negotiations are continually treated as a bargaining tool – with a backtracking on language rather than considered discussions to meet the needs of women, girls and gender-diverse peoples at the frontlines of climate solutions and impacts. We demand that Parties treat with urgency and ambition the upcoming review and re-commitment to the UNFCCC’s Gender Action Plan (GAP), engaging in meaningful dialogue around a GAP that supports implementation both at national level and coherence across all areas under the UNFCCC.”  – Bridget Burns, Executive Director, WEDO

On ACE- Action Climate Empowerment:

“We are quite disappointed with  the process of ACE negotiation, but we agree that no decision is better than a weak decision. Parties must work to fulfill their obligations, including financing the implementation of ACE, to ensure the realization of ACE activities with a transformative gender inclusive approach. The six elements of ACE –  Education, Public Awareness, Training, Public Participation, Public Access to information, International Cooperation- are critical to ensuring climate literacy for youth, adults and policy makers,  for ensuring a real transition, and heeding ancestral knowledge on caring for people and Mother Earth.” – Floridea Di Ciommo, Director, cambiaMO 

On Demilitarization:

“With a genocide underway just a few thousand kilometres from Dubai– enabled and facilitated by colonial and fossil-fuel powered militarization- calls for demilitarization by civil society organisations and activists have been front and centre at this COP. Recent estimates suggest that global fossil-fuel powered military activity contributes at least 5.5% of global emissions. However, under the Paris Agreement, reporting on military emissions is voluntary, which gives militaries a de facto free ride. Despite militarization significantly exacerbating the climate crisis – calls for a reduction and reallocation of military spending to mitigation, adaptation, and the loss and damage fund – or demands for transparency and accountability of military and conflict emissions are not reflected in any of the outcome documents of this COP.” – Katrin Geyer, Environment Advisor, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)



The Women and Gender Constituency (WGC) is one of the nine stakeholder groups of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Formalized in 2011, the WGC now consists of 35+ women’s and environmental civil society organizations, and a network of 800+ advocates, working to ensure that women’s voices and their rights are embedded in all processes and results of the UNFCCC framework, for a sustainable and just future, so that gender equality and women’s human rights are central to the ongoing discussions. As the WGC represents the voices of hundreds and thousands of people across the globe, members of the Constituency are present at each UNFCCC meeting and intersessional to work alongside the UNFCCC Secretariat, governments, civil society observers and other stakeholders to ensure that women’s rights and gender justice are core elements of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Twitter: @WGC_Climate