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WECAN Act Now: Report Backs and Calls to Action from the WECAN International Network Wide Call

As we move into a new decade and welcome a new year, we are reminded of the power and magnitude of women and feminist globally who are rising, speaking out, and working everyday to build solutions that protect, defend, and restore the Earth and our communities.

The first few weeks of the new year have not been easy. Fires are ravaging Australia and the Amazon, flash floods have proven deadly in Indonesia, and around the world the impacts of climate chaos are being felt every single day. We are in a climate emergency, and in 2020 we will and are working ceaselessly for global climate justice.

On February 5, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network hosted an International Network Wide Call via Zoom, opened by Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director, who facilitated the call from the Coastal Miwok lands in California. We had people join us from all around the world - from Uganda, Germany, Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil, the UK, to the Tlingit/Haida territories in Alaska.

During the call we shared some of WECAN’s campaigns and programs for 2020 as well as report backs on what happened in 2019. We provided a brief report back of the COP25 climate negotiations, heard from some of WECAN's regional coordinators, introduced WECAN's Regional Action Exchange, and heard from you all about the work you are passionate about in your community. Please continue on for a summary of the report backs and how you can get involved in 2020!

Opportunities for Engagement

Regional Action Exchange

During the call WECAN announced the Regional Action Exchange, a new initiative to unite women to take action regionally while connecting to a global women’s climate justice movement. The Regional Action Exchange is a decentralized and self-organizing platform to provide our network with opportunities to engage intentionally and connect deeply on issues we all care about in our regions of the world. This is a space explicitly for women to learn from one another, look for nodes of potential intersection of work, amplify each other’s efforts, and create working partnerships as is beneficial.

Join the Regional Action Exchange Here!

Volunteer Opportunities

There are a few opportunities for volunteers to support WECAN’s work this Spring, please see below for more information. If you are interested in any of these opportunities please reach out to Katherine at, sharing your skills and interest - thank you!

Researcher: WECAN is looking for 1-2 individuals to join our team and work with the Executive Director on upcoming research projects.

Communications Volunteer: This volunteer would work with the Communications Coordinator on the backend of our communications program, supporting tasks as needed.

General: We are always looking for support, if you have certain skill sets you would like to offer please feel free to reach out via email to We will keep you in our minds as we dive deeper into the new year and work to build our capacity to support the mission and values of this organization.

Join the Divestment Day of Action

We are seeking network members to join an upcoming day of action as part of the Stop the Money Pipeline Coalition - keep reading down below for more details!

WECAN Updates & Reportbacks

On the network wide call we were able to share a few of our campaign and program areas including, Women for Forests, Divestment, Women Speak and more. If you would like to see a full list of our programs, please see this link. For the call we were also joined by Wanda Culp, Tlingit activist and WECAN Tongass Coordinator from Alaska; Neema Namadamu, WECAN Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Daiara Tukano, a partner in the Brazilian Amazon and COP25 WECAN delegate. Each of these powerful leaders joined us to share some frontline updates on the work happening in their home communities.

Women for Forests - Tongass National Forest

Wanda Culp, WECAN Tongass Regional Coordinator speaking out during the "Turn Out for the Tongass" Rally with the WECAN Indigenous Women's Tongass delegation and allies in Juneau, Alaska - Photo via WECAN International/Katherine Quaid

On the call Tlingit Activist and WECAN Tongass Coordinator, Wanda Culp joined us to share with the WECAN network the importance of the Tongass Rainforest and why we all must be advocating for the defense of forests and Indigneous communities worldwide.

The Tongass Rainforest of Alaska is the traditional homelands of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian Peoples; the largest national forest in the U.S.; and has been called 'America’s climate forest' due to its unsurpassed ability to sequester carbon and mitigate climate impacts. For decades however, industrial scale logging has been destroying this precious ecosystem, and disrupting the traditional lifeways, medicine, and food systems of the regions Indigenous communities.

Currently, the Trump administration is seeking to exempt the Tongass National Forest from the 2001 National Roadless Rule, which will lead to devastating industrial logging, destruction of Indigenous life-ways and wildlife habitat, and further harm to the climate. In 2019, WECAN led two historic Tongass delegations to Washington D.C. to advocate for the protection of the Roadless Rule and call for support of The Roadless Area Conservation Act, introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Representative Ruben Gallego (D-NM), which aims to prevent logging and destructive road-building in the Tongass National Forest. Watch the video below from our most recent delegation to Washington D.C.

In addition to the Washington D.C. delegations, WECAN also participated in actions in Juneau, submitted testimony during several Roadless Rule hearings held by the U.S. Forest Service, and invited the global community to submit comments in support of the Roadless Rule. Find more details on these actions on our website.

In 2020, Wanda and the WECAN Tongass representatives are looking forward to submitting further testimony at an upcoming Federal Subsistence Board meeting on the Roadless Rule and subsistence living in March. We will also go back to Washington D.C. to follow up on our advocacy work and demand legislators protect the Tongass from destructive corporate interests.

Women For Forests - Democractic Republic of Congo

Neema Namadamu, WECAN Regional Coordinator for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), also spoke on the call, providing updates on WECAN’s Women for Forests Program in the DRC.

​Since 2014, WECAN International has partnered with Neema Namadamu and her organization the Synergy of Congolese Women's Associations (SAFECO), to build a coalition of women to protect the rainforest of the Itombwe region, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Women of the DR Congo WECAN/SAFECO program work together transplanting trees and sharing knowledge in the nursery. Photo via WECAN International

Our collaborative work centers in South Kivu Province, which hosts two very important forest sites: the Itombwe Nature Reserve and the Kahuzi-Biega National Park (PNKB), both of which have been listed as endangered since 1994 due to pressures from extractive industries and inter-related conflicts. The women of WECAN/SAFECO have successfully started and maintained tree nurseries growing over 25 local tree varieties, which have medicinal, food, fuel, and reforestation purposes. WECAN works with 12 communities of Indigenous women who have planted trees all by hand, with no machinery or equipment. This is providing communities with their forest needs, reforesting damaged clear-cut lands, and allowing 25,000 community members to stop deforesting the old growth of Itombwe.

Through online trainings, on-the-ground workshops, and an ongoing reforestation program, WECAN International and SAFECO are providing a platform for local women to learn, strategize, build, and implement a plan for protection of the Itombwe Rainforest, women’s rights, their rich Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and their communities living in and around the rainforest.

Partner Update on the Brazilian Amazon

On the call, Daiara Tukano discussed the current political situation in Brazil and Indigenous movements. Daiara Tukano 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 human rights researcher and coordinator of Radio Yandê, and COP25 WECAN delegate.

Since his inauguration in 2019, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has worked to

dismantle key protections and policies that protect the rights of Indigenous peoples and the Amazon in Brazil. His regime's devastating assaults on social and environmental protections has led to a surge in deforestation and Indigenous and human rights abuses.

The first Brazilian Indigenous woman negotiator to the UNFCCC COP speaks about the murders of Indigenous forest defenders in Brazil during an action outside the COP25 venue, alongside Sonia Guajajara and Daiara Tukano. Photo via WECAN International - Katherine Quaid

In the face of his fascist regime, Indigenous women are rising. In 2019, Indigenous women led a historic