New Climate Treaty Must Respect Human Rights

GERMANY (October 20, 2014)– As negotiations towards a new climate agreement commenced in Germany this week, the Women and Gender Constituency (WGC) called Parties to raise ambitions, prioritize safe and truly sustainable solutions and ensure gender equality and human rights in all climate policies and action.

On behalf of the WGC, Ms. Usha Nair delivered the following statement at the Opening Plenary. You can also download it here.

Thank you Chair.

My name is Usha Nair, speaking on behalf of the Women and Gender Constituency, and we take this opportunity to share with Parties some priorities for the ADP:

First, the Constituency is committed to work towards an effective, equitable and just newagreement that respects the human rights of women and men. In order to achieve the ultimate goal of this Convention AND to build the necessary confidence and momentum behind fair and ambitious contributions under the Durban Platform ­ it is crucial that climate policy takes into account the rights, needs, perspectives, capacities and expertise of women and men alike. We appreciate the leadership of many Parties calling for gender equality as a guiding principle and critical cross­cutting element of the new agreement. This is an important session for ensuring gender equality is fully integrated into the new climate agreement. The Green Climate Fund architecture and strong language in the Cancun agreements on human rights and gender equality provide useful precedents.

Second, we urge Parties to support language in the new climate agreement which ensures open, inclusive and transparent processes for the participation, views and perspectives of civil society in climate change decision-­making and actions. This should include women, youth, indigenous peoples, and local communities, and effectively utilize local and traditional knowledge and methods as an essential element of policy.

Finally, we stand firm that high­risk technologies, such as nuclear, shale gas, geo‐engineering or the like, that create irreversible damage to our health and the planet have to be kept out of a 2015 agreement. We urge Parties to focus and prioritize investment and dialogue on real solutions over high risk options like CCS, which could pose significant health, economic and ecological risks. Solutions are at hand and we have an incredible opportunity for an energy transformation toward safe, renewable energy systems­­ focussing on bottom­up approaches that benefit people and communities, reduce current and future emissions and work to ensure public health and peaceful societies. The time for this transformation is now.