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People Power Rises for Climate Justice at COP25: WECAN International Analysis & Reflection


The outcome of this year’s United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) 25 in Madrid, Spain, produced a great deal of frustration and outrage with the ongoing stagnancy and lack of ambition by many nations to curb emissions and cut pollution at a scale commensurate with the science and the climate crisis well underway. Countries that have contributed most to global warming were busy creating loopholes to avoid desperately needed commitments to deep cuts in their carbon emissions and were (and are) actively rejecting the demands of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis.


Unfortunately but not surprisingly, the climate talks continue to reflect unjust systems that are central to the root causes of the climate crisis, such as neoliberal economic models that drive the destructive commodification of nature and the implementation of market-based mechanisms that often harm people and planet. Furthermore, the climate negotiations are also influenced by patriarchal ideologies that suppress the critical relationship between gender equity, women’s leadership, and climate solutions, and by colonial systems that continue to silence and ignore Indigenous peoples, their rights, sovereignty, and acutely needed Indigenous knowledge and solutions.


Yet, in the face of these oppressive forces, peoples movements at COP25 were not deterred as 500,000 people, led by Indigenous peoples from around the world and inspired by youth from Fridays for Future, marched through the streets of Madrid demanding urgent climate action and a just and healthy future.

500,000 demonstrators march through Madrid to demand governments act with urgency and declare a Climate Emergency. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid
Helena Gualinga (right) and Nina Gualinga (left), both Indigenous activists from the Ecuadorian Amazon and WECAN COP25 delegates, prepare to lead the march on December 6, 2019 as part of the Indigenous and frontline delegation. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

Since the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement, governments have been working to define a Rulebook for the articles of the Paris Climate Agreement that will provide global guidelines to inform Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which embody efforts by each country to reduce its carbon emissions. Adopted in 2015, the Paris Climate Agreement replaced the Kyoto Protocol with the global vision of keeping warming well below 2°Celsius. However, most countries aren’t cutting carbon emissions nearly fast enough, and pledges from countries to reduce carbon emissions for the next 10 years fall dangerously too short of what is needed to stay below 1.5°Celsius temperature rise. Additionally, the stark reality is that we need to stay below the stated 1.5° guardrail as we are already seeing severe ecological stresses with the current temperature rise, such as extreme fires from the Amazon to Australia to Sub-saharan Africa and many regions in between — our world is on fire!


At this time of urgency, we need real solutions operationalized quickly, not false solutions like carbon trading schemes that are being promoted by too many governments and fossil fuel corporations that have an overwhelming presence at the COP. Article 6 of the Paris Climate Agreement was a central focus of the COP25 climate talks, which concentrates on developing rules around the implementation of market-based mechanisms like carbon markets. These mechanisms are not new, and studies repeatedly have shown that these mechanisms fail to reduce emissions while also often violating human and Indigenous rights and causing further harm to biodiverse ecosystems. WECAN, along with many civil society organizations, are advocating to stop any “solutions” that commodify nature and do not contain safeguards for human and Indigenous rights, gender justice, and ecological integrity.


In the era of Climate Emergency, we must be unwavering in our honesty and our fierce dedication to call for justice and action to halt a trajectory toward irreparable climate chaos. At COP25, WECAN International felt the immense power of our global social movements working toward just climate solutions. Every day, we spoke out, held events, and took action voicing our demands and calls for climate justice. As an organization with an international focus and network, but a United States base location, we stood with many U.S. allies to send an urgent message to the world that, even in the face of a climate-denying and reckless U.S. administration, many people across the country can, and will, stand up for climate justice.


While governments failed to take ambitious action again this year, youth leadership and peoples’ movements rose-up, heeding the call for action by centering frontline leadership and advocating for community-led solutions, forest protections, keeping fossil fuels in the ground, and demanding that polluters pay. We saw a vision of what a just climate future could be. We made it clear to governments and corporations that all our struggles are interwoven, and that the only way we can succeed in addressing the climate crisis is with the leadership of Indigenous peoples, women, people of color, youth, and frontline communities.


WECAN organized opportunities for global women leaders to speak for themselves and demonstrate their calls to action and just solutions rising up from frontline communities. Women from around the world presented successful solutions, from agro-ecology, local clean energy, justice-centered policy platforms to feminist economies. Movement leaders shared their in-depth political analysis, plans for systemic change, and held actions throughout the two weeks of the COP — including actions critiquing Article 6 and others that honored murdered Indigenous forest defenders in Brazil, demanding accountability and justice from the Bolsonaro administration.


Women are at the forefront of our movements and on-the-ground solutions, and WECAN was at COP25 to ensure our voices and solutions were centered within the negotiations through our advocacy efforts, side events, press conferences, and direct actions.


Please read further to learn about outcomes from the negotiations, our WECAN delegates and advocacy at COP25.



TWO KEY OUTCOMES FROM THE NEGOTIATIONS



Gender Action Plan


In the midst of much stagnation in the negotiations, there was a shining light — a victory for the Gender Action Plan. The dedication of ceaseless work by the Women and Gender Constituency, feminists advocating at the Party level, and frontline constituencies proved powerful as the Gender Action Plan (GAP) was formally adopted by the Parties, with the inclusion of rights-based language.


“Recognizing with concern that climate change impacts on women and men can often differ owing to historical and current gender inequalities and multidimensional factors and can be more pronounced in developing countries and for local communities and indigenous peoples,

acknowledging that climate change is a common concern of humankind, Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality empowerment of women and intergenerational equity,” - You can read the full Gender Action Plan here.


The GAP, which is part of the Enhanced Lima Work Program on Gender, though separate from the Paris Climate Agreement, sets a historic precedent for the inclusion of rights-based language within the policies and practices adopted by countries and will guide gender-responsive climate policy and action for the next five years. As a key demand of the Women and Gender Constituency and our organization, WECAN delegates, Daiara Tukano, Osprey Orielle Lake, and Katherine Quaid were glad to be in attendance when the Secretariat announced the approval of the GAP language before it was formally adopted by all Parties in the closing plenary.

Daiara Tukano and Osprey Orielle Lake discuss the importance of the Gender Action Plan during the final negotiations. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid
The Secretariat prepares to address negotiators and civil society at the final meeting on the Gender Action Plan. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

We have deep gratitude for all the gender equity advocates and the Women and Gender Constituency who have worked tirelessly to ensure gender justice within the COP. After years of negotiations, the Gender Action Plan is an important success that will offer some sorely needed leverage for human rights in the Paris Climate Agreement.


WECAN commends this outcome, recognizing the necessity for a rights-based approach to be included at all levels of climate action policy. We will be monitoring the GAP because for it to truly be effective, the GAP must coincide with progressive climate financing, support Indigenous and human rights and biodiversity, and bolster worldwide women’s movements at the grassroots, local, and national level.


Article 6 of the Paris Climate Agreement

Casey Camp-Horinek speaks at an Article 6 action organized by Indigenous and frontline communities during COP25 demanding an end to carbon markets. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

Article 6 of the Paris Climate Agreement is concerned with how countries are to mitigate and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by operationalizing market and non-market based solutions. Yet, Parties only chose to focus on creating and establishing market-based mechanisms for reducing emissions, including carbon markets, REDD+, carbon offsets, and cap-and-trade programs.


Market-based mechanisms are a false solution to curb catastrophic climate change and deforestation. As an example, these mechanisms allow big polluters to continue to poison communities at sites of extraction and at points of distribution and processing by buying up pollution permits from forests around the world and simultaneously continuing dirty pollution practices in a different country. We reject any solutions that do not safeguard the dignity and flourishing of all people and the planet, and do not stop pollution at the source. Additionally, false solutions, such as dangerous nuclear power plants; increased natural gas extraction; mega-dams; geo-engineering; bioenergy; carbon trading schemes; and carbon capture and storage have no place in the Just Transition.


Throughout the week, Indigenous and frontline communities and civil society organizations led and organized several Article 6 demonstrations, you can watch the videos of the actions here and here.


Ultimately negotiators were unable to agree upon an outcome for Article 6, and thus it remains in limbo. In this instance, no deal is better than any deal as we do not want any Articles that enable counterproductive carbon markets and do not ensure safeguards for Indigenous rights, human rights, gender justice, and ecological integrity.


As in the case of the Article 6, it is vital in these negotiations for our voice as civil society to be at the COP to advocate and influence the process, and to interfere with mechanisms that will further predator capitalism, which has caused the socio-ecological crisis in the first place.



ON OUR WAY TO MADRID, WE DID NOT FORGET ABOUT CHILE!


In October, the Chilean President, Sebastián Piñera, announced that COP25 would no longer take place in Santiago, Chile as planned due to social upheaval. Decades of neoliberal economic policies leading to vast wealth inequality ignited the social uprising in Chile. These same destructive economic policies wedded to extreme resource extraction are a leading driver of our climate and ecological crisis. Disaster capitalism doesn't work for our communities, and it doesn't work for our planet.

Mapuche activists traveled from Chile to participate in the COP25 climate talks and march in the mass mobilization on December 6, 2019. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

In response to social movements, the Chilean government has been suppressing citizens' right to protest and violating key human rights laid out by the United Nations, and notably, women and feminists have been on the frontlines of the protests in Chile. As we refocused our efforts in Spain for COP25, we pledged to keep a keen eye on Chile and social movements on the ground, including going forward with the 5th International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Santiago with the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and highlighting the voice of Chilean activist Angela Valenzuela from Friday’s For Future - Chile in Madrid. We also joined our colleagues at the UNFCCC Women and Gender Constituency to release a statement about the situation in Chile and our demands, please see our statement here.



WECAN IN ACTION AT THE COP: CONFRONTING CLIMATE APATHY WITH

SPIRIT, COMMUNITY-LED SOLUTIONS, AND WOMEN'S LEADERSHIP

WECAN delegates and partners celebrate frontline women’s leadership and solutions at WECAN’s public event, “Frontline Women Protecting and Defending Rights, Land, Communities and Climate​” held during the Cumbre Social por el Clima/People’s Climate Summit. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

WECAN’s COP25 delegation and diverse global allies advocated, spoke out, participated in events and meetings, and stood for climate justice during marches and direct-actions throughout the two weeks of COP25. Please see all of our photos, live streams, and videos from our time at COP25 on our Facebook Page.


WECAN International was very honored to facilitate the presence of an incredible delegation of frontline women leaders at COP25, who advocated for climate justice and led and participated in powerful actions and events over the duration of their time in Madrid.


The WECAN delegation included: Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Nation, Turtle Island, USA), Ponca Nation councilwoman, long-time Native rights activist, environmentalist and actress; Sônia Bone Guajajara (Brazilian Amazon) Executive Coordinator for the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB); Daiara Tukano (Brazilian Amazon), Indigenous activist, artist, and coordinator of Radio Yandê; Nina Gualinga (Ecuadorian Amazon), Indigenous woman leader and co-founder of HAKU Amazon Design; Helena Gualinga (Ecuadorian Amazon), 17-year-old Indigenous social activist; along with Osprey Orielle Lake (USA), Executive Director of WECAN International; and Katherine Quaid (Confederated Tribes of Umatilla, Turtle Island, USA), Communications Coordinator for WECAN International. Please see the bottom of this blog for a full bio of each delegation member.

Casey Camp-Horinek leads a water ceremony hosted by Indigenous Environmental Network, Indigenous Climate Action, and It Takes Roots coalition on the evening of December 4, 2019. Photo via WECAN International

Upon our arrival at COP25, we were very honored to be invited to a Water Ceremony called for by Indigenous leaders and organized by Indigenous Environmental Network, Indigenous Climate Action, and It Takes Roots. Casey Camp-Horinek, Ponca Nation councilwoman and WECAN COP25 delegate, led the ceremony calling on those in attendance to share songs, water from their home communities, and to give prayers for the week.


The Water Ceremony helped center our intentions for the week and served as a reminder of the endless passion and deep love we have for Mother Earth and all of Life. WECAN International gratefully drew inspiration from this evening which propelled us into two weeks of intense climate action.


During our COP25 events, actions, and press conferences WECAN called for governments to commit to action without sacrificing human rights and ecological integrity. We articulated in detail the root causes of the climate crisis; pushing back against, colonial, racist, patriarchal, corporate and capitalistic agendas and drawing the line to say no to false and inadequate solutions. We worked to ensure that demands for women’s rights, Indigenous rights, the Rights of Nature, and the human rights of most-impacted communities were heard.


In an era of continued oppression, fossil fuel expansion and false climate solutions, the voices and leadership of grassroots, frontline, and Indigenous women leaders could not be more important.



500,000 PEOPLE TAKE CLIMATE ACTION DURING MASS MOBILIZATION

Indigenous and frontline communities prepare to lead 500,000 demonstrators during the mass mobilization on December 6, 2019. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

WECAN took to the streets in Madrid joining 500,000 activists to demand governments of the world declare collectively that we are in a #ClimateEmergency and act now from a climate justice framework.

Sônia Guajajara, Executive Coordinator of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) and WECAN delegate spoke to over 500,000 people who attended the protest. Photo via Midia India

At the closing rally, Sônia Guajajara, Executive Coordinator of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) spoke to over 500,000 people who attended the protest. Speakers also included Greta Thunberg, Javier Bardem, Antonio Banderas, and the frontline Indigenous delegation. Watch the rally speakers at Midia India's Facebook page.


After leading the march, Indigenous people stormed the stage and sang the Women Warrior song to close the rally, please see our video here: https://www.facebook.com/WECAN.Intl/videos/570835153476172/

Indigenous women lead the frontline delegation to the stage to sing the Women Warrior Song at the end of the mass mobilization in Madrid on December 6, 2019. Photo via WECAN International

WECAN also marched with feminists from around the world demanding systemic change, see the video here: https://www.facebook.com/WECAN.Intl/videos/2191424437830617/

WECAN delegates meet up at the end of the march and rally on December 6, 2019. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid
The feminist bloc during the mass mobilization on December 6, 2019. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid
Feminists demand climate justice during the mass mobilization on December 6, 2019. Photo via WECAN International


POWERFUL WOMEN LEADERS SPEAK AT WECAN INTERNATIONAL UN SIDE EVENT: 'WOMEN FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE LEADING SOLUTIONS

ON THE FRONTLINES OF CLIMATE CHANGE'


“Fighting climate change means listening to the Earth and that means listening to Indigenous peoples who have been protecting these forests, protecting these lands for thousands of years and who are fighting these industries, who are keeping the oil in the ground who are keeping the fossil fuels in the ground. If we don’t listen to indigenous peoples, if we don’t listen to indigenous women we are not going to get out of this crisis.”

Nina Gualinga, Indigenous Activist from Sarayaku and WECAN delegate


Women leaders share their struggles and solutions during WECAN’s formal UN side event, ‘‘Women for Climate Justice Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change” on December 11, 2019. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

Women are on the frontlines of climate impacts and solutions - it is time for them to be recognized at the forefront of climate action plans and decision making!


WECAN held our formal UN Side Event, “Women for Climate Justice Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change” on December 11 at the UNFCCC COP25 in Madrid, Spain. Grassroots, frontline and Indigenous women leaders, alongside representatives from international climate justice organizations, spoke out to address the need for solutions based in a climate justice framework, including forest and biodiversity protection, Indigenous rights, agro-ecology, fossil fuel resistance, and protection of women land defenders.


You can watch the full event on the UNFCCC website or via live stream on WECAN's facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WECAN.Intl/videos/546215979559992/

Ruth Nyambura spoke to the community organizing and women-led solutions in Kenya during WECAN’s formal U.N. side event. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid
Jacqui Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program, shares about the experiences of frontline communities in the United States as they face extractive industries and climate catastrophe, during WECAN’s formal U.N. side event. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

WECAN has such deep gratitude for the amazing women who spoke at the side event: Sônia Guajajara (Brazilian Amazon); Daiara Tukano (Brazilian Amazon); Casey Camp Horinek (Ponca Nation, USA), Ruth Nyambura (Kenya); Nina Gualinga (Ecuadorian Amazon); Jacqui Patterson (USA), and Osprey Orielle Lake (USA).



PARTICIPATION IN THE PEOPLE'S CLIMATE SUMMIT

CUMBRE SOCIAL POR EL CLIMA


WECAN Event: Frontline Women Protecting and Defending Rights,

Land, Communities and Climate​


“We are still facing colonization, but we believe that we have rights,

we believe that nature has rights and that is why we defend our Mother,

our Earth, our land, our water, our territory with our bodies.”

Daiara Tukano, Indigenous Activist from Brazil and WECAN Delegate


Paty Gualinga (right), Nina Gualinga (left), and Helena Gualinga (center left), from Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon joined WECAN for our public event at the People's Climate Summit to share stories of resistance against oil drilling in their region. They are pictured here with Osprey Orielle Lake (center right) after the event. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid
Casey Camp-Horinek discusses her experiences on the frontlines of extraction and the community-led solutions in her Ponca homelands during WECAN’s public event at the People’s Climate Summit. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

At WECAN’s public event, “Frontline Women Protecting and Defending Rights, Land, Communities and Climate​”, Grassroots, frontline and Indigenous women leaders and representatives of climate justice organizations, spoke out against the environmentally and socially destructive activities and policies threatening their communities and homelands in South and North America and presented the visions and strategies with which they are working to shape a healthy and equitable future. Telma Taurepang opened the event with a song from her community in Brazil and the speakers discussed the impacts of the climate crisis, fossil fuel extraction, extractive economies, colonization, criminalization of land defenders, and resistance movements in their communities.


Daiara Tukano closed the event with a song from the Brazilian Amazon. We thank all of the presenters for sharing their experiences and expertise, Telma Taurepang (Brazilian Amazon), Casey Camp Horinek (Ponca Nation, USA), Paty Gualinga (Ecuadorian Amazon), Nina Gualinga (Ecuadorian Amazon), Helena Gualinga (Ecuadorian Amazon), Eriel Tchekwie Deranger (Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Canada), Daiara Tukano (Brazilian Amazon), and Osprey Orielle Lake (USA).


We also give thanks to our dear allies at Amazon Watch for all the vital work they are doing in the Amazon and all the Amazonian leaders they supported to participate in the COP. We were grateful that Leila Salazar-Lopez, Executive Director of Amazon Watch joined us at the frontline women's event. Please see more about Amazon Watch here: https://amazonwatch.org/

Daiara Tukano leads the group in song to close WECAN’s event at the Cumbre Social por el Clima on December 7, 2019. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

Rights of Nature as a Powerful Tool for System Change


“We are not here to save Nature, we are Nature saving itself.”

Casey Camp-Horinek, Ponca Nation Councilwoman, WECAN Delegate

Ponca Nation Councilwoman Casey Camp-Horinek and WECAN Executive Director, Osprey Orielle Lake, joined Margaret Steward, Center for Earth Jurisprudence Director to co-facilitate a workshop on the Rights of Nature legal framework during the Cumbre Social por el Clima on December 8, 2019. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

Casey Camp-Horinek, Ponca Nation Councilwoman and WECAN Executive Director, Osprey Orielle Lake, joined Margaret Steward, Center for Earth Jurisprudence Director, to co-facilitate a workshop on the Rights of Nature legal framework at the People's Climate Summit.


The majority of the world’s legal frameworks treat nature as property, meaning that life-giving rivers, forests, and mountains are seen as objects to be sold and consumed. Legal systems built on the premise of Rights of Nature challenge the idea that natural communities and ecosystems are property to be exploited endlessly by humans, and instead recognizes the Earth as a living, rights-bearing entity.

Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director of Amazon Watch, Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, Executive Director of Indigenous Climate Action, and Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director strategize during the People's Climate Summit. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

Environmental and social justice advocates have long been seeking a tool which would enable communities affected by climate change and environmental degradation to gain recognition for the harms done not just to human interests, but also to ecologic ones. A Rights of Nature framework requires that those responsible, including corporate and governmental actors, be held fully accountable for negative impacts on Earth systems.





The Living Forest Declaration, Kawsak Sacha


Helena Gualinga gives a presentation on the Kawsak Sacha during COP25 in December 2019. Photo via WECAN International

On December 5, Helena Gualinga of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon presented the Living Forest Declaration, Kawsak Sacha, during an event at COP25. Created by the Kichwa people of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Kawsak Sacha is a vision, worldview, and strategy, which presents all at once an ecological, political, cultural, spiritual and economic analysis - and an ancient and new way forward. The ultimate goal of the Kawsak Sacha Declaration is to attain national and international recognition for a new legal category for the permanent protection of Indigenous lands, which recognizes the inseparable physical and spiritual relationship between the Peoples of the Living Forest, and all of the beings that inhabit and compose it. Watch Helena’s presentation here.





COP25 PRESS CONFERENCES

WECAN organized and/or participated in four press conferences over the course of COP25, calling for action in the Amazon, advocating for Rights of Nature and a Feminist Green New Deal, and sharing the struggles and solutions of frontline women leaders.



Press Conference: Indigenous Women from the Amazon: Calls to Action


“We have been protecting the world’s biodiversity for hundreds of years and we will

keep doing that and we are not going to stop, we are not going anywhere. We are going

to be here, even if the governments are trying to cover up their criminal activity in our territories...I am here to demand that the oil is kept in the ground [and] we have

the human rights we deserve.”

Helena Gualinga, 17-year old Indigenous activist and WECAN delegate

Daiara Tukano (left), Helena Gualinga (center) and Sonia Guajajara (right) calling for the protection of the Amazon during the WECAN Press conference, “Indigenous Women from the Amazon: Calls to Action” on December 9, 2019. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

Indigenous women leaders of the Amazon united to advocate for Indigenous rights, protection of forests, water, communities, and the global climate, and to address the fires in the Amazon and the recent murders of Indigenous forest defenders in Brazil.

Daiara Tukano (left) Indigenous activist and researcher from the Brazilian Amazon, Helena Gualinga (center left) 17 year old social activist from the Ecuadorian Amazon, Sonia Guajajara (center right) Executive Coordinator for the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), and WECAN Executive Director Osprey Orielle Lake (right) at the WECAN Press conference, “Indigenous Women from the Amazon: Calls to Action” on December 9, 2019. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

Indigenous organizations and communities, led by women, are mobilizing locally and globally to protect and defend their communities, the Amazon rainforest, and the global climate. In different regions of the Americas, women are standing up to governments that are committing gross violations of human rights, Indigenous sovereignty, and harms to ecosystems and our climate. We know that as extractive industry and agro-business power increases, human and nature rights are violated, and Indigenous women land defenders are under increased attack. We all need to step up in this struggle! Furthermore, in order to implement the Paris Climate Agreement, we need to protect forests and there is no protecting forests without protecting Indigenous people and Indigenous rights.


Watch the press conference here: https://bit.ly/343V42i




Organized by WECAN International, speakers included, Sônia Bone Guajajara (Brazilian Amazon); Helena Gualinga (Ecuadorian Amazon); Daiara Tukano (Brazilian Amazon); and (Moderator) Osprey Orielle Lake (USA).


AJ+ shared Helena Gualinga's comments from this press conference where she called out world leaders at COP25 for criminal negligence.



Press Conference: Rights of Nature


"To truly live sustainably and live in harmony with the Earth we need to change the very foundations, the very structural DNA of our legal frameworks

to respect the natural laws of Mother Earth”

Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director

Casey Camp-Horinek, Ponca Nation Councilwomen and WECAN COP25 Delegate (left), Nnimmo Bassey, environmental activist and Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (center) and Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director (right) at the Rights of Nature press conference on December 9, 2019. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

On December 9, we held a press conference to discuss how a Rights of Nature framework can build the foundations for systemic change in climate solutions. Co-hosted by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and WECAN International with Casey Camp Horinek, Ponca Nation Councilwomen; Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director; and Nnimmo Bassey, environmental activist and Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation.


WATCH the full press conference here: https://unfccc-cop25.streamworld.de/webcast/ithaca-college-rights-of-nature-foundations-for-a-



Press Conference: Toward a Feminist Green New Deal



“When frontline women lead, we win. There are many examples of campaigns where feminist principles of organizing around systemic change are the key to the success. To advance true systems change that we need in the face of climate change the Green New Deal must be rooted in feminist principles and practices.”

Jacqui Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program


Bridget Burns (left), Dr. Frances B Roberts-Gregory (center left), Katherine Quaid (center), Jacqui Patterson (center right), and Osprey Orielle Lake (right) at the press conference “Toward a Feminist Green New Deal”. Photo via Jessica Olson

During a COP25 press conference on December 10, a broad coalition of activists and academics presented key principles for a Feminist Agenda for the Green New Deal guided by justice and accountability, centered on frontline communities, and that reflects feminist values and upholds human rights.


The proposed Green New Deal has sparked an important, overdue national and international conversation around the urgent work needed to confront the global climate crisis. To truly address the root causes, as well as the scope and scale of the climate crisis, the Green New Deal must be cross-cutting in its approach, steadfast in feminist principles, and strive to combat historical oppressions. It must advance a transformative feminist agenda that centers the leadership of women, and acknowledges and addresses the generational impacts of colonization and anti-Black racism. It must end oppression against and be led and articulated by frontline, impacted communities – especially women of color, Black women, Indigenous women, people with disabilities, LGBTQIAP+ people, people from the Global South, migrant and refugee communities, and youth.


WATCH and SHARE the full press conference here: https://unfccc-cop25.streamworld.de/webcast/towards-a-feminist-green-new-deal


Speakers included Jacqui Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program; Dr. Frances B Roberts-Gregory, Ph.D. candidate at the University of California Berkeley; and Bridget Burns, Director of WEDO; Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director; and Katherine Quaid, WECAN Communications Coordinator.


In addition to the press conference, Katherine Quaid and Osprey Orielle Lake of WECAN and Bridget Burns of WEDO alongside other members of the Feminist Green New Deal coalition spoke further to the principles of the Feminist Green New Deal during a Women and Gender Constituency morning caucus meeting. The caucus discussion focused on how the Feminist Green New Deal needs to be a global platform as there cannot be a USA policy without accountability and responsibility to the international community.


“I am not interested in a Green New Deal or any other national or international climate

policy unless it is actively centering Indigenous leadership and confronting the

systems of oppression that have impacted indigenous communities for centuries

and led to our current climate crisis.” Katherine Quaid, WECAN Communications Coordinator

Katherine Quaid shares the importance of centering Indigenous leadership in the Green New Deal with the Women and Gender Constituency during a morning caucus meeting. Photo via Annabelle Avril/WECF

In September 2019, The Feminist Agenda for a Green New Deal was formally launched by a coalition of climate justice and women’s rights activists including WECAN In response to the UN Climate Summit in New York City. After the launch, the coalition shared the principles with policymakers in Washington D.C., discussing ways for the Feminist Green New Deal to influence policies and programs moving forward.


The 10 key principles call for advancing reproductive justice, the creation of regenerative economies centered on feminist analysis and understanding of the care economy, a shift from exploitative and unsustainable production patterns and a rejection of false solutions to the climate crisis, and more. Read further about the Feminist Green New Deal here.


WECAN Press Conference: Women for Climate Justice on the Frontlines

of Systemic Change


“We are in a scenario of war. Where all people that fight against climate change, That fight for human rights, and fight for environmental issues are being threatened. Unfortunately, they are not just threats, murders are happening all over Brazil.”

Sônia Guajajara, Executive Coordinator for the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) and WECAN Delegate

Speakers during the WECAN press conference “Women for Climate Justice on the Frontlines of Systemic Change” on December 10, 2019. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

Women for Climate Justice shared their experiences, struggles, and solutions from the frontlines of systemic change. From the tar sands of Canada to the frontlines of Nigeria, it is clear that women are essential for transforming the dominant social constructs that lie at the root of gender inequality, as well as the destruction of the Earth. We need to look at systemic change and challenge old paradigms of patriarchy, colonization, imperialism, and capitalism. Women see the connection and are willing and able to unite across borders to challenge systems of oppression and build a healthy and livable future.

We were very honored to have many amazing women speak at the press conference including, Eriel Tchekwie Deranger (Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Canada); Sônia Guajajara (Brazilian Amazon); Casey Camp Horinek (Ponca Nation, USA); Rita Uwaka (Nigeria); and Osprey Orielle Lake (USA).


Watch the full press conference here: https://unfccc-cop25.streamworld.de/webcast/womens-earth-and-climate-caucus-women-for-climate-



DIRECT ACTIONS AND SOLIDARITY WITH OUR ALLIES


Throughout our time at COP25, the WECAN Delegation participated in many actions inside and outside of the climate talks.

Greta Thunberg joins a Fridays for Future strike on December 6, 2019, inside the COP25 venue. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid
Indigenous women sing the Women Warrior Song after demonstrators were kicked out of the COP25 venue during an action. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

Civil Society Holds Action Inside COP25

Casey Camp-Horinek stands her ground during an action inside the COP25 venue. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

On December 11, at the UNFCCC COP25 in Madrid, civil society held an action, interrupting high-level plenaries inside the COP25 venue. Led by Indigenous and frontline delegations, over 300 came together to vocalize their dissatisfaction with the inaction and blocking of progressive climate policy by big polluters, including the United States.

U.N. security guards a loading dock where they forced civil society out of the COP25 venue. Photo via Simon Chambers/ACT Alliance

As soon as the action started, security guards ripped badges from some of the demonstrators and eventually forced and pushed civil society protesters into an outdoor corridor, locking us out of the COP25 venue and not allowing any civil society back into the negotiations for the remainder of the day.


Activists organized the unprecedented protest after 10 days of stalled negotiations and backroom deals. The violence with which security officers used to silence demonstrators was appalling and a poignant display of what governments will and are doing to those we are demanding the inclusion of basic human rights among our societies. Human Rights, Rights of Nature, Gender Justice, and Climate Justice are non-negotiable - governments must listen to the people. Casey Camp Horinek spoke out during the action, which you can watch via WECAN’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WECAN.Intl/videos/523488455047134/


During the protest, WECAN delegate Daiara Tukano spoke with Democracy Now! to further discuss the persecution of Indigenous people in Brazil. Watch her interview here.


Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director of Amazon Watch and Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director, join Indigenous peoples call for urgent climate action during the action. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

Brazilians and Allies Hold Action in Honor of

Indigenous Amazon Forest Defenders


“At this moment, Brazil is under a coup d’état. We have been attacked in so many ways.

We have been attacked to our democracy. We have been attacked to our forest.

And we, as originary people, as indigenous people from the forest, are trying

to defend what is left of nature.”

Daiara Tukano, Indigenous Activist from Brazil

Sônia Guajajara speaks out about the murders of Indigenous forest defenders in her community in Brazil during an action outside the COP25 venue. Photo by WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

Tragically, during COP25, two more Indigenous forest defenders were murdered in Brazil. Indigenous leaders from Brazil, including Sonia Guajajara and Daiara Tukano, spoke at an action directly in front of the COP25 venue to honor those killed, demand Not One More Drop of Indigenous Blood, and call for the protection of the Amazon Rainforest.


Brazil's Indigenous peoples are under increasing attack with President Bolsonaro and his regime's devastating assaults on social and environmental protections. As threats increase, women land defenders are harmed first and worse. This is a critical time to stand with courageous Indigenous women leaders in Brazil, who are fighting every day to protect human rights, forests, water, climate, communities, and future generations. Watch our livestream of the event here.

Please see a vital report on the Brazilian Amazon by our allies at Amazon Watch:

https://amazonwatch.org/assets/files/2019-complicity-in-destruction-2.pdf

The first Brazilian Indigenous woman negotiator speaks at the action outside the COP25 venue alongside Sonia Guajajara and Daiara Tukano. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

Indigenous Women Raise Awareness on

Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls


“We belong to the Earth, she does not belong to us. To enslave her is so ugly. To rape her is the same against violence against us .”

Casey Camp-Horinek, Ponca Nation Councilwoman


Indigenous Environmental Network, Indigenous Climate Action and It Takes Roots organized and led an action outside the U.S. embassy in Madrid demanding justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).


During the action, Spain’s National Police removed the delegation from the sidewalk outside the U.S. embassy and followed them for blocks. Casey Camp-Horinek spoke at the demonstration, hear her speech and more in this video of the action created by Indigenous Media Rising.

Video produced by Vane Ramos, Ayse Gürsöz and Jennifer K. Falcon for Indigenous Rising Media and Spencer Mann with Indigenous Climate Action



Indigenous Leaders from Minga Indígena Deliver a Letter

Demanding Official Recognition at COP25

Indigenous leaders from Minga Indígena deliver a letter demanding official recognition at COP25. Photo via WECAN International

On December 10, Indigenous leaders from Minga Indígena, representing communities across Latin America, held a ceremony inside COP25 and delivered the Indigenous Climate Charter to U.N. representatives demanding that Indigenous consultation become an official part of the climate negotiations. Watch WECAN’s livestream of the event here.

Indigenous women-led a ceremony, walking with sacred fire through the COP25 venue in Madrid, Spain. Photo via WECAN International
Indigenous women leaders from Latin America shared the demands of the Indigenous Climate Charter with U.N. representatives during COP25. Photo via WECAN International

#FridaysForFuture Sit-Ins

Fridays For Future holds a climate strike outside the COP25 venue. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

On December 13, #FridaysForFuture and Constituencies, representing Indigenous peoples, youth, women, and labor held a sit-in to protest the inaction of our government officials and to demand climate justice! WECAN delegates participated in the sit-in as well as joined Fridays For Future and Extinction Rebellion demonstrators holding a strike outside COP25 in solidarity.


Youth-led actions set the tone throughout the duration of COP25, demanding government accountability and action. Young activists worldwide have been leaving their classrooms every Friday to demand action on climate change. The future of today's youth and upcoming generations hang in the balance as the impact of the climate crisis is revealed with more alarming force every day.

The Fridays for Future youth movement leads a final sit-in on December 13, 2019 inside the COP25 venue. The past year youth have ignited climate action across the world, and within COP25 they led many intergenerational actions with heart, passion, and a deep understanding of the urgency needed to address our current climate crisis.

CONCLUSION: PEOPLES MOVEMENTS MUST

LEAD THE CLIMATE REVOLUTION


"Women are not only fighting for their families, communities, the earth, and climate but they are fighting for themselves so they can have their voices heard.”

Nina Gualinga, Indigenous activist from Sarayaku

WECAN Delegates and event speakers at the WECAN formal U.N. side event on December 11, 2019. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

Our continued participation in the U.N. climate talks stems from the knowledge that women are facing the impacts of climate change first and worst, but are simultaneously building and leading solutions in their communities, fighting to protect Indigenous rights and knowledge, preserving seeds and biodiversity, defending their territories from mining and fossil fuel extraction, and rejecting false solutions while advocating for a just transition to a renewable, regenerative energy future. We will continue to support women’s leadership and amplify the solutions of women and frontline communities, working together to fight for Mother Earth and the health of our communities.


It is vital that we participate in the UNFCCC process to demand that governments commit to action that is commensurate with the urgency of what global scientists, Indigenous peoples, and community leaders are telling us. The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network and people's movements will not stop fighting for our beautiful Mother Earth and the health and justice of our communities, and now we return home to continue our work on the ground. Our collective efforts at the local, regional, national and international levels could not be more urgent, and our courage to act boldly and fiercely could not be more needed.


During the mass mobilization on December 6, 2019, demonstrators hold a sign reading “without feminism there is no revolution.” Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

As countries prepare to “take action” at COP26 in 2020, the year that the Paris Climate Agreement will go into effect, we severely question their urgency, intentions, and purpose. If those most responsible continue to profit off climate disaster, millions will die. Behind closed doors, a small but powerful few continue to use our lives and ecosystems as bargaining chips. Yet, global social movements are coming together, building upon years of coalition and constituency organizing, to beat on those closed doors and to express an ever-eternal echo of our love for our communities and the planet, a reminder that we the people will demand the best for our communities and hold those in power accountable for the damage they have done. We call for the protection of Mother Earth and we demand a healthy and just world for current and future generations. There is no other choice.



HONORING THE WECAN COP25 DELEGATION

WECAN International was honored to facilitate the presence of an incredible group of frontline women leaders at COP25, who advocated for climate justice and led and participated in powerful actions and events over the duration of their time in Madrid. Please learn more about each of the delegates down below.


Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Nation, Turtle Island, USA)

Councilwoman Casey Camp-Horinek (left) of the Ponca Nation is a community leader, long-time Native rights activist, environmentalist and actress. As traditional Drumkeeper for the Ponca Pa-tha-ta, Woman’s Scalp Dance Society, Camp-Horinek helps maintain the cultural identity of the Ponca Nation of Oklahoma for herself, her family and her community. She has been at the forefront of grassroots community efforts to educate and empower both Native and non-Native community members on environmental and civil rights issues. She has raised her voice and taken action in countless forums across the world. Casey engages as WECAN's Special Programs Advisor, and is an honored member of the WECAN International Advisory Council and US Women’s Climate Justice Initiative.


Sônia Bone Guajajara (Brazilian Amazon)

Sônia Bone Guajajara (center) is a Brazilian indigenous leader. She is the Executive Coordinator for the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) and comes from the Araribóia Indigenous Land, of the Guajajara people. She graduated in Arts and Nursing, apart from being a specialist in Special Education by the State University of Maranhão. She was a candidate for Vice-President of Brazil in the 2018 Elections; coordinator of the organizations and articulations of the indigenous peoples of Maranhão (COAPIMA); and of the Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB). In 2015, she received the Order of Cultural Merit from the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Culture.


Nina Gualinga (Kichwa, Ecuadorian Amazon)

Nina Sicha Siren Gualinga (right) is an indigenous woman leader from the Kichwa community of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Since she was eight years old, she has been actively involved in local, national and global advocacy efforts in defense of indigenous rights and territories in the Amazon and for climate justice. In 2011, she represented Sarayaku youth at the final hearing before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica where Sarayaku won their historic victory against the Ecuadorian government for violating their rights and territory for oil drilling. In 2014, she joined global calls to keep oil in the ground at the People’s Climate March and COP21. In 2015, she joined a large delegation from Sarayaku at COP21 in Paris advocating for the protection of “Living Forests” and in 2016 she joined a historic indigenous women’s march uniting indigenous women of 7 nationalities in defense of rights and territories. Nina splits her time between Sarayaku and Sweden, where she is a law student. Most recently, Nina co-founded HAKU Amazon Design, working to support efforts of Shiwiar, Kichwa and Waorani women to defend their territories, through sustainable, hand-made designs.


Daiara Tukano (Brazilian Amazon)

Daiara Tukano (left) is of the Tukano indigenous people - Yé'pá Mahsã, clan Eremiri Hãusiro Parameri of the Alto Rio Negro in the Brazilian Amazon, and was born in São Paulo. Daiara is an indigenous activist and artist and has a Masters Degree in Human Rights at the University of Brasilia. She is also a researcher on the right to memory and truth of indigenous peoples, and an independent communicator and coordinator of Radio Yandê, the first indigenous web-radio in Brazil - www.radioyande.com



Helena Gualinga (Kichwa, Ecuadorian Amazon)

Helena Siren Gualinga (center) is a 17-year-old social activist, of Kichwa-indigenous and Swedish origin. She is known for her advocacy for climate and environmental justice.









Osprey Orielle Lake (USA)

Osprey Orielle Lake (right) is the Founder and Executive Director of the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International. She works nationally and internationally with grassroots and Indigenous leaders, policy-makers and scientists to promote climate justice, resilient communities, and a just transition to a clean energy future. She serves on the Executive Committee for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and heads-up WECAN’s advocacy work in areas such as Women for Forests, Rights of Nature. Fossil Fuel Divestment, and UN Forums. Osprey is the author of the award-winning book, Uprisings for the Earth: Reconnecting Culture with Nature.


Katherine Quaid (Confederated Tribes of Umatilla, Turtle Island, USA)

Katherine Quaid is the Communications Coordinator for the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN). She was born and raised in rural central Oregon and is a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla. Her dedication to climate justice is tied to the lands of her ancestors and the many communities nationally and around the world that are fighting for a healthy future. Katherine is passionate about sharing her voice for justice, and collaborating with frontline women across Turtle Island (USA) and globally in resistance movements and climate solutions.



MEDIA ROUND-UP


Explore select links below highlighting the efforts of the WECAN COP25 delegation!

The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is a solutions-based, multi-faceted organization established to engage women worldwide in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects, direct action, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.

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