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With 2015 UN Climate Negotiations Underway in Bonn, Women and Gender Constituency Is Speaking Out

Members of the Women & Gender Constituency in Lima, Peru during COP20. Photo via WEDO.

The Women and Gender Constituency (WGC), one of nine stakeholder groups of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has just released a comprehensive and powerful new position paper on the 2015 New Climate Agreement.

The position paper was developed with input from 15 women’s and environmental organizations and a civil society advocacy listserve of over 100 women activists and gender experts across several national, regional, and global networks.

As stated in the paper:

“For the Women and Gender Constituency the objective of the 2015 climate agreement is an ambitious global partnership among countries, committing to the highest level of emission reductions needed to match what scientific research says is needed to prevent catastrophic climate change, working together within the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibility, to protect, respect and fulfill human rights for all, to support adaptation to already incurring climatic shifts, to respond to the loss and damage already suffered, and to create a just and sustainable future for all.”

The position paper calls for an equitable, gender-responsive climate agreement that:

  • Keeps global temperature rise well below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

  • Promotes human rights and gender equality.

  • Ensures sustainable development and environmental integrity.

  • Requires fair, equitable, ambitious and binding mitigation commitments in line with the principles of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR).

  • Calls for urgent and prioritized adaptation action and resources that respond to the most vulnerable countries, communities and populations.

  • Demands a sustainable energy paradigm that prioritizes safe, decentralized renewable energy systems that benefit people and communities.

  • Ensures adequate, new, additional and predictable climate finance for developing countries.

  • Provides resources to reconcile loss and damage already incurred from climate inaction.

  • Ensures full, inclusive and gender-equitable public participation in decision-making.

  • Ensures that all climate change related actions respect and protect biodiversity and nature.

  • Protects and fulfills the rights of Indigenous peoples.

  • Ensures that climate policies and actions establish a just transition of the workforce that creates quality jobs and guarantees decent work standards for all.

  • Ensures that mitigation strategies rely not only on technologies and markets, but rather include wide-ranging structural and lifestyle changes.

Members of the Women & Gender Constituency strategizing in Lima, Peru during COP20.

The paper spells out specific policies and strategies for achieving each of these objectives, and boldly denounces false solutions to the climate crisis, including technology-dependent and market-centric mechanisms such as REDD+, geo-engineering, shale gas, and nuclear power.

Crucially, the document stresses that the knowledge of Indigenous communities, women, and other frontline stakeholders must guide policy makers, and asserts that, “ecological sustainability, food sovereignty, decent work and people’s empowerment,” must be central tenants of all proposed strategies.

The Women and Gender Constituency is presenting this position paper in Bonn, Germany at the inter-sessional UN Climate Negotiations currently underway, and will continue to use it as a key advocacy tool the lead up to COP21 and the finalization of the 2015 New Climate Agreement later this year in Paris.

The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International) is honored to advocate with the Women and Gender Constituency, and to have the opportunity to collaborate in forming interventions and position papers during this critical moment for climate action.


Blog by Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN International Executive Director and Emily Arasim, WECAN International Communications Coordinator


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