Women’s World Assembly for Climate Justice to coincide with United Nations General Assembly: “Life itself is at stake”
“Life itself is at stake and we women unite in saying that we need to make the right choices for our collective future now. ”
These are the words of Casey Camp-Horinek, matriarch of the Ponca Nation, in speaking of the upcoming World Assembly of Women for Climate Justice—A free, virtual and non-sexist public forum to be held from September 25 to 30, 2021.
Across the world, various peoples’ movements have strived to organize for environmental justice in the face of our current climate emergency; it is often women who lead these movements.
Hosted by the International Network of Women for Earth and Climate (WECAN), this event will bring together more than 100 leaders from more than 40 countries whose aim is to encourage governments to increase climate action by examining the root causes of interwoven crises of environmental and social injustice, adopting a framework for climate justice and by offering a wide range of possible solutions to the climate crisis. Speakers include Indigenous, Black and Brown grassroots and frontline organizers, activists, policy makers and leaders speaking with a collective voice: We are not waiting. We need action now.
The meeting will be held in parallel with the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (AGNU 76). This timing is intentional and meaningful, not only because of the urgency of the climate crisis, but also because ” this is the last time global governments will come together ahead of one of the most important climate talks since the Paris Agreement, ”said WECAN Executive Director Osprey Orielle Lake.
Lake refers to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26, which will be held in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12, 2021. It is expected that climate change will be among the topics of discussion at UNGA 76 and it is at COP26 that governments must submit action plans and improved targets under the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Although it is not certain that US President Biden will include the climate crisis in his first speech at the UNGA on Tuesday, he brought the United States back to the Paris Agreement and pledged to reduce US emissions by 50-52% from 2005 levels by 2030-in accordance with the COP26 target to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
In order for the United States to “build back better,” we must #BuildBackFossilFree. The Women’s World Assembly for Climate Justice will address this, along with topics such as feminist climate policy, food sovereignty, regenerative energy, fossil fuel resistance campaigns, feminist care economics, challenging the corporate power and more through discussions of visions, projects, strategies and frameworks.
Kari Ames (Tlingit) will speak at the “Women for Forests: Protecting Forests, Climate and Communities” panel on September 25. Ames, the WECAN representative in the Tongass Forest in Alaska, said:
“Our people have been here for over 10,000 years, and we are here to protect and preserve the land so that we can be here 10,000 more years. Our culture is alive and we want our traditional ways of life that have protected the forest to endure for future generations, which is why I continue to fight for more protections for the salmon, bears and all living things in Haa. Aani, our homelands. . “
Sônia Guajajara, Executive Coordinator of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), has witnessed the intimate connection between indigeneity, gender equality and environmental justice:
“The situation in Brazil is now very serious, especially for women. Domestic violence against indigenous women has increased dramatically, recently two girls were brutally raped and murdered. We have a president who believes that women are objects and that our voices and indigenous rights should not be heard and respected. However, for years we have remained strong; because the most important thing now is to fight for the Amazon and for Mother Earth. The struggle for Mother Earth is the Mother of all struggles, and women are leading the way. ”
On September 27, Ruth Nyambura, Kenyan activist from the African Ecofeminist Collective, will give a presentation as part of a panel on “Building an Intersectional Movement for Climate Justice”. She explains the urgency of feminist collective action around the world:
“Even in these difficult times, people are finding ways to resist growing fascism as well as an economic and political system that makes the majority of us, especially those of us in the South, disposable. We must conceive of our work in the movements as a deeply political project. Now is not the time to say we are neutral. As radical anti-capitalist feminists and conservationists, we must know that our work will be controversial. Above all, we must build and work through movements and center the aspirations of those who are on the front lines of the multiple and intersecting crises we face. “
“The Assembly will call for urgent action within a climate justice framework and produce an online collection of actions, policy frameworks and solutions presented to the Assembly to provide to global governments, financial institutions and the media. “
We are in the midst of a global climate emergency. As you reflect on your own role in the climate crisis, consider the words of Neema Namadamu, WECAN coordinator for the Democratic Republic of the Congo:
“We know that the difference we make doesn’t just affect our world, but the rest of our planet. We feel the weight of it all and do our part. To our sisters around the world we say: We are together!