“No Gender Equality on a Dead Planet”
Women’s rights activists from around the world have outlined their demands for a new climate agreement and presented it to governments in Bonn, Germany this week during negotiations for the new global agreement on climate change to be signed in Paris this December.
The Women and Gender Constituency (WGC), a group of civil society advocates and climate experts who are stakeholders in the climate negotiations, are calling for a life-saving act. While gender equality and women’s human rights must be a core principle and aim of the agreement, the Women and Gender Constituency has insisted on an ambitious, comprehensive and binding agreement that will prevent catastrophic climate change and transform the very foundations of the economic model causing climate change.
Concerned that developed countries may advocate for gender equality within a weak agreement that promotes false solutions and fails to address the historical responsibility of emitting countries and corporations, APWLD and other women’s rights activists have warned “there is no gender equality on a dead planet”.
In marginalised, mountainous and coastal communities around the world, women are already suffering from floods, loss of harvests, lack of potable water and watching their lands being swallowed by the sea. So much of the harmful impacts of climate change are already felt by the poor in developing countries, a grave injustice as these countries have contributed very little to global carbon emissions. As climate change is not gender neutral, the impact of changing rainfall patterns, flooding and super typhoons have taken their toll on populations that are most vulnerable, especially rural and indigenous women. Climate change and the unsustainable pattern of economic growth exacerbate and re-produce existing gender inequalities with dire results for women.
The constituency paper provides specific recommendations for each area of the negotiations – mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, finance, technology transfer and capacity building. The proposed language is designed to secure transformation from an extractive, exploitative and patriarchal economic model to a sustainable model of development where women’s human rights and development justice are enjoyed.
The Women’s constituency calls for the Paris agreement to aim for a world where temperature rise is kept well below 1.5c, to enshrine core principles of human rights and gender equality and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), to provide developing countries with the adequate means to mitigate and adapt to climate change, including through finance, technology transfer and capacity building, and ensure that all climate actions are gender-responsive. The Bonn meeting must be the time for governments to show the world that they prioritise people and planet over profit.
Read the full position paper from the Women and Gender Constituency here.
 The WGC is one of the nine stakeholder groups of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Established in 2009, the WGC now consists of 15 women’s and environmental civil society organizations and networks including APWLD, and hosts an advocacy list of over 100 women activists and gender experts who reviewed and contributed to this position. Visit www.womengenderclimate.org for more information.