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WECAN Women Mobilizing for Climate Justice at COP20 in Lima, Peru

This December 2014, policymakers representing 195 countries will meet in Lima, Peru for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP20. Building on the September 2014 U.N. Climate Summit in New York City and talks held in Bonn, Germany last month, COP20 is the first round of negotiations as policy makers work to finalize a new global climate agreement in Paris in 2015.

At this critical time, social movement leaders and climate activists will also be gathering in Lima to further push for an agenda which is founded in climate justice, and which matches the scale and severity of the crisis we face.

WECAN International advocating with other women’s groups at COP19

As scientists have made perfectly clear, if we do not move forward boldly within the next decade, we will pass irreversible climate tipping points with catastrophic impacts. And, until we act in the name of climate justice, diverse ecosystems and communities will continue to be polluted and destroyed, defenders of the Earth will continue to be persecuted, species will continue to be lost at an unfathomable rate, and we will continue to bet on the lives of our children.

Ignited by these facts, and deeply concerned that the voices of women and Indigenous and frontline communities have not been heeded in previous discussions, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International) is headed to Lima. WECAN International will advocate inside the U.N. negotiations, and will lead and join in the diverse grassroots mobilization efforts happening in parallel.

On December 9th, WECAN International will host a formal side event inside the UNFCCC COP20, with allies from Amazon Watch and TakingItGlobal. We will showcase examples of youth and women as agents of local and global change, with particular focus on Indigenous women at the forefront of climate change impacts and solution building.

As part of the event, WECAN International will present the newly released ‘Women’s Climate Action Agenda’ as a blueprint for our path forward. The UNFCCC does not have an overarching mandate on gender to guide policies, so, with the Action Agenda in hand, WECAN will be advocating for gender sensitive policy-making, in collaboration with expert leaders from the Women and Gender Constituency.

Indigenous Leader, Patricia Gualinga of Ecuador, speaks at a recent WECAN event.

Outside of formal U.N. proceedings, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network will host and take part in a series of public events and actions addressing issues of women and climate, climate justice, and rights of Nature and Indigenous peoples.

On December 8th, WECAN International will present ‘Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change-Lima’, bringing together a diverse group of women leaders from across the world to speak out against activities and policies threatening the Earth and their communities, and to share the visions with which they are working to shape a more equitable and healthy world.

Panel discussions and strategy circles will focus on extractive industries and mega-dams, forest protection and territory rights, renewable energy alternatives, new economic frameworks, rights of nature, systemic change, and how relationships between women of the Global South and North can further grow the climate justice movement. WECAN International’s ‘Women’s Climate Action Agenda’ will be explored as a tool for creating systemic change and implementing on-the-ground solutions. The event is free and open to the public, with more details available at

While in Peru, WECAN International will also take part in the ‘International Rights of Nature Ethics Tribunal ’, hosted by theGlobal Alliance for the Rights of Nature, on whose Steering Committee WECAN serves.

The Tribunal model uses the ‘Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth’ as a foundation for adjudicating and disseminating judgments on violations of Nature happening across the globe. The Tribunal shows us what a legal framework that works within the planets limits really looks like, and provides a potent tool for communities working to defend the Earth and their health and heritage.

At the Lima Tribunal, a diverse panel of international experts will hold trials on 12 different cases linked to COP20 proceedings, including the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, threats to the Great Barrier Reef, hydraulic fracturing in the US, mineral and petroleum extraction in Latin America, mega-dam construction in Brazil, and the violent persecution of individuals and communities working to defend the Earth. In adjudicating these critical cases, Tribunal organizers hope to compile the information and compelling analysis needed to catalyze real international action on these cases.

Panel members at the first International Rights of Nature Ethics Tribunal in Ecuador.

The Tribunal, to be held on December 5th and 6th, is free & open to the public. To register and get further information, visit

Continuing the week of mobilization in Peru, WECAN International and Indigenous allies will take to the streets as part of the People’s March Lima on December 10th.

“We are rising,” explained Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN International Co-Founder and Executive Director, “We are rising in the streets, in the court house, in the forests, in the fields, and in the conference rooms of COP20. We know there will be no climate justice until the voices of women, Indigenous peoples, Nature, and future generations are the voices that guide policies and global action. We have a long way to go and a short time to get there. WECAN will mobilize ceaselessly in pursuit of this goal.”


Blog by Emily Arasim, WECAN International Special Projects & Communications Coordinator


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