Statement: Multi-stakeholder Dialogue Restoring and Sustaining Healthy Ecosystems for People and Planet: Partnerships to Jointly Deliver on the Environmental Dimensions of the 2030 Agenda, UNEA-2
Our member, Helen Hakena (Leitana Nehan Women Development Agency), was selected to speak at the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue: Restoring and Sustaining Healthy Ecosystems for People and Planet: Partnerships to Jointly Deliver on the Environmental Dimensions of the 2030 Agenda. This meeting was moderated by Minister of Environment Netherlands and Executive Director of World Resource International (WRI). Video of this forum can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-WXicGySho&index=12&list=PLZ4sOGXTWw8FfHO2M-dUKV8uxpqmH97JB (Helen Hakena starts at 42:20 – 46:20).
Check her full statement below
The most essential ingredient of any partnership is the consent, engagement and trust of the people. Genuine partnerships only exist and can work where we share solidarity – shared objectives and vision. Partners that come in for other reasons – to make money, to exploit resources, to gain power can not be part of the heart of the partnership.
I know what happens when partnerships are formed for the wrong reasons. When governments partner with corporations or a few powerful people for profits without the consent of people; when foreign governments partner with corporations for our resources or when men decide how they will use or defend their land without the involvement of women (even though the lands are matrilienal).
My home of Bougainville (Islands of PNG and rich in biodiversity) suffered a 10 year war rooted around a mining conflict, where approximately 20,000 people died and a whole generation of young people were denied education and, consequently, a better future. As result, our country has the highest result of violence against women, where 62 percent of men admitted to having raped women.
Now, after suffering from polluted water sources, degraded lands, a proliferation of weapons from the mining, we are facing the disastrous consequences of climate change. Our Islands are disappearing. With the women loss of their land comes the loss of their identity, their livelihoods, their capacity to survive.
IN my community we are building solidarity amongst women, amongst men and young people, amongst the displaced people and the communities they are settled to, amongst government leaders. When our people know what they want, many others can support us in solidarity – whether they be governments (for example several countries are helping rebuild our community center after it was burnt down and others are helping with renewable energies) or the business sector that wants to support the models we have selected – whether that be exporting some of the products we make. And we want to enter into partnerships where the knowledge we have developed – like using coconut oil to run combustion engines or the knowledge of our medicinal herbs – is used in solidarity for the benefit of our planet (without being stolen from us through intellectual property practices).
These essential ingredients of solidarity, of shared objectives and respect for all community are the key ingredients of the Asia Pacific Regional Civil Society Engagement Mechanism. The platform of Asia Pacific CSOs is successful because we all enter into it with the shared desire for Development Justice.
That allows us to enter into it with trust – the private sector representative (small and micro enterprises and collectives) enters into the partnership with a shared vision for Redistributive and Economic Justice – not a vision of more profit. Men enter into it with a shared vision for Gender Justice, not more personal power. And we all enter into it with a shared vision of environmental and ecological justice for our planet – not a vision of commercialising and extracting as much monetary growth as possible.
While the UN is an intergovernmental body, partnerships like the RCEM can best contribute where they are able to genuinely contribute – to put proposals, agenda items and have resolutions considered.
One concrete thing UNEA could do is to focus on models of development that measures human development that is within planetary boundaries. We need to take the opportunity to re-design economies, politics and communities in ways that are both ecologically sustainable and advance women’s rights and peace. If humanity is to survive we need to design a feminist, fossil-fuel free, future
Concretely no partnerships should be entered into with stakeholders whose operations are detrimental to the environment, whose primary beneficiaries are not the local community, who hold wealth in tax havens or whose operations depend on arming either government or non-government forces. .