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Bringing Womens Leadership & Indigenous Rights to the Forefront of Conservation Issues-WECAN at IUCN


Patricia Gualinga (Director of International Relations for the Pueblo of Sarayaku, Ecuador) presents her Living Forest proposal during a main event hosted by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network and the IUCN Gender Program. Pictured with Leila Salazar Lopez of Amazon Watch and Osprey Orielle Lake of WECAN International


During the recent September 2016 International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) ‘World Conservation Congress’, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network spoke out, advocated and engaged with global governments, businesses and civil society organization in order to lift up the climate justice framework and show why women’s leadership; Indigenous rights and frontline women’s struggles and solutions; and deep systemic change are key to just and effective conservation policy, and to all attempts to move forward on the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.


IUCN is the world’s largest environmental organization, comprised of both governmental and civil society representatives. The IUCN World Conservation Congress, held once every four years, focused this year on the theme of ‘Planet at the Crossroads’ in an attempt to build forward motion to fulfill the Paris Climate Agreement, adopted by 195 world governments in 2015.


As a global network of women for climate justice, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International felt strongly that this was an important moment to highlight the voices of grassroots, frontline and Indigenous women community and Earth defenders to the Congress to share their struggles, experiences and solutions; demonstrate resistance to false solutions to the climate crisis while offering clear directives for a just and safe energy transition; and advocate for No Go Zones and Rights of Nature.


In advance and on the ground in Hawaii, WECAN was honored to be collaborate with Amazon Watch, the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), Center for Earth Jurisprudence, the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and diverse allies gathering at IUCN through the Sacred Lands Film network.



Our Executive Director had the honor of meeting up with Dr. Jane Goodall. We are deeply honored that Dr. Goodall is on our Advisory Council.


Listed below, explore key engagement points of WECAN Interational’s participation at the World Conservation Congress this year.



Patricia Gualinga speaks at an IUCN Press Conference.


‘A Deep Dive on Gender and Environment: Exploring the Policy Landscape, Strategies in Action, and Women’s Frontlines Solutions’ – key event and panel presented by WECAN and the IUCN Gender team.



Women standing for No Go Zones, Motion 26, Living Forests, and Keep It In the Ground at the World Conservation Congress. From left to right: Leila Salazar-López, Paty Gualinga, Osprey Orielle Lake, Aura Tegría, Sônia Bone Guajajara and Atossa Soltani.


Motion 26 advocacy: WECAN was honored to stand with a diverse group of colleagues who have worked for years to successfully push for the passing of Motion 26 which, “protects areas to be considered as no-go areas for environmentally damaging industrial activities and infrastructure developments, emphasizing the need for respect of Indigenous peoples’ rights as a high priority, to ensure their free, prior and informed consent in relation to activities in sacred natural sites and territories conserved by Indigenous peoples and local communities.”.WECAN has huge appreciation to all allies for their tremendous efforts over many years in this achievement. The power and presence of Indigenous voices and leadership is essential, and the need to respect the rights of Indigenous peoples and sacred sites a top priority in these critical times.