PARIS, FRANCE, November 30, 2015 — On Monday, November 30 at 15:30-16:00, the Women and Gender Constituency (WGC) held its first press conference at the Paris UN Climate Talks.
“Climate change is a reality for women in developing countries and they desperately need financial support, access to information, gender responsive policies and access and control over decision making that impact on them,” says Titi Soentoro (Indonesia) from Aksi! regarding finance for women who are affected by climate change. “Industrialized countries must provide new, addition, public funds in the form of grants which are not determined by national and international agencies, They need to address the real needs of impacted communities, starting with a minimum floor of $100 billion per year ensuring a balance of 50 percent adaptation and 50 percent mitigation and additional funds for loss and damage.”
“We can see the negative impacts of harmful energy technologies, in both the global south and global north,” says Miriam Reindl, WECF (Women in Europe for a Common Future) when speaking about technology and delivering energy democracy to women. “With nuclear power we saw Chernobyl and Fukushima and people suffering from that dangerous technology. At the Women and Gender Constituency, we are promoting technologies that are safe for people and the environment, appropriate, and gender responsive – responding to both the daily and different needs and priorities of women and men.”
“Countries who caused the climate crisis have a legal as well as moral responsibility to end their over consumption and fund the global transformation we need,” says Kalyani Raj (India), All India Women’s Conference ( AIWC). “Through years of exploitation and colonialism, wealthy countries have developed beyond any reasonable need. The majority of the world must now be able to develop sustainably – let us not repeat the mistakes of the rich consuming countries.”
According to Camille Risler, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, ( APWLD), “Climate change is a clear symptom of an inequitable and unjust world. That’s why the response to climate change requires systemic change, one that challenges the unequal distribution of wealth, resources, carbon and power: economic, political and military power.” She continues, “France has declared a state of emergency, but the real state of emergency is the climate – just as the thousands of people who joined the human chain yesterday shouted. The climate crisis is the result of a broader global emergency – a crisis of inequality, and a crisis of capitalism.”
With the fate of the planet in the balance, world leaders need to hear from those most impacted by climate change, including women from the Global South and developing nations, as well as poor and impacted women living in the Global North and industrial nations. The Women and Gender Constituency, comprised of 13 global networks representing collectively 1000’s of local groups, have brought “11 Key Demands” to COP 21.
Included in these demands are:
1) governments must commit to keep warming under 1.5°C to prevent catastrophic climate change, 2) new technologies must be safe, and not harmful to people or the planet, 3) all climate actions must include recognition of and respect for human rights, gender equality, rights of indigenous peoples, intergenerational equity. 4) a just transition, decent work, food security, and resilient ecosystems are also imperative; and 5) developed countries must do their fair share by taking the lead to close the current inequitable emissions gap in the proposed INDCs (intended nationally determined contributions), 6) provide unconditional support to developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change and 7) provide new, additional and predictable gender-responsive public finance (partial list)
In addition the constituency is calling attention to the link between militarism and climate change. Shockingly military emissions are not counted in country emissions and nor do they feature in the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). This is despite the fact that the US military is the single largest consumer of oil.
The Women and Gender Constituency (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, who are working to ensure that women’s voices and their rights are embedded in all processes and results of the UNFCCC framework, for a sustainable and just future, so that gender equality and women’s human rights are central to the ongoing discussions. As the WGC represents the voices of hundreds and thousands of people across the globe, members of the Constituency are present at each UNFCCC meeting and intersessional to work alongside the UNFCCC Secretariat, governments, civil society observers and other stakeholders to ensure that women’s rights and gender justice are core elements of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.