Press Conference: The Women and Gender Constituency’s view on Progress & Challenges on the Road to COP26
In the midst of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) virtual Subsidiary Body discussions, women’s rights and feminist advocates outline key opportunities and challenges for delivering ambitious climate action towards COP26.
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01 June 2021 [Virtual SB June session] – The Women and Gender Constituency (WGC), a broad network of organizations working at the intersection of gender and climate justice, call for bold action and ambitious commitments on the road to COP26.
At the start of the virtual sessions, WGC advocates laid out the urgency of ensuring that all climate actions meet the promise of Paris by fulfilling human rights, gender equality and the rights of Indigenous Peoples. “What we need is rights-based and people-centered global climate action that delivers a just transition for all,” said Cathy Yitong Li, young feminist activist. “We urge Parties to deliver upscaled, ambitious, fast-tracked and gender-responsive climate finance to ensure climate frontline countries and communities are able to better respond and adapt to the urgent and slow-onset realities of the climate crisis, as well as to address irrevocable loss and damage.”
Gender expert, Hwei Mian Lim, urged the implementation of gender-responsive climate action as part of the Gender Action Plan. “Ambitious climate action does not only refer to emission reduction targets but also to ensuring that through those targets the transformation of economies and societies is achieved in a feminist way, leaving no one behind,” Mian Lim said.
This is critical for the upcoming COP26, where the WGC expects discussions around false solutions that disguise climate inaction. Coraina de la Plaza, of the Global Forest Coalition shares, “So-called “solutions” by large emitters fail to meet the need of this moment, which is a full-scale transition away from fossil fuel and dirty energy infrastructure, and a commitment to safe, sustainable and regenerative consumption and production models. Quite simply, “Net Zero” is “Not Zero”, it is instead synonymous with “business as usual” approaches that do little to get us towards the goals of Paris.” She continued, “We continue to implore countries to work under the framing of ecosystem-based approaches, as defined under the Convention on Biological Diversity.”
As a counter to the “solutions” oftened centered in the global policy space, the Women and Gender Constituency hosts a flagship programme called the “Gender-Just Climate Solutions Awards”, which lauched its next round of awards today. Gina Cortes, of Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF), highlights the need to uplift existing feminist climate solutions. “We know that real solutions to the climate crisis exist on the ground. To make sure these voices are heard and supported, the Women and Gender Constituency has been showcasing outstanding initiatives since 2015 through the Gender Just Climate Solutions Awards and mentoring programme,” Cortes said. “They provide examples of climate resilient and transformative development models that bring multiple social and environmental co-benefits.”
One Gender-Just Climate Solutions awardee, South African gender and climate activist Bertha Chiroro, affirmed, “The changes happening on the ground are driving gender equality and fighting the climate crisis in order to build resilient communities. This ensures that we leave no one behind in building better and much greener towards low carbon economies and societies.”
Finally, the Generation Equality Forum’s Blueprint on Feminist Action for Climate Justice will serve as a key opportunity to catalyze on momentum around a global agenda for gender equality, marked by the Paris Forum later this month, where governments, civil society and other actors will announce commitments towards climate and gender justice. The commitments, laid out in the Blueprint, will revolve around climate finance, capacity building and women’s leadership, data and knowledge generation, and more.
Feminist climate activists and the WGC will continue to advocate for bold, human-rights centered action on the road to COP 26 and beyond. As noted by Bridget Burns, Director of the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), and co-focal point of the WGC, “We cannot wait to take action. Feminist climate action guides us towards a protection of human rights and environmental integrity that places the well-being of people and planet at its center. We urge governments to step up and meet this moment’s demands for justice, equity and ambition.”
ABOUT WOMEN & GENDER CONSTITUENCY
The Women and Gender Constituency provides a number of ways for civil society and non governmental organizations which work for women’s rights and gender justice, environmental protection, or both, to influence the annual conferences and help develop the UNFCCC. Website: womengenderclimate.org; Twitter: @WGC_Climate
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