"It Always Seems Impossible, Until It's Done"
December 12, 2013

Dear Friends,


At this special time, our thoughts are with the family and friends of Nelson Mandela - and all of South Africa, as they (and we all) celebrate a great leader. As we face the challenges ahead we recall his inspiring words, " It always seems impossible until it's done."

It's been a little over two weeks since the WECC/IWECI team returned from the whirlwind UNFCCC COP19 in Warsaw, Poland. Many thanks to our allies for their hard work there as we all held blazing in our hearts the words of Mr.Yeb Sano, the lead negotiator of the Philippine's delegation who poignantly said  "stop the madness." Amidst a tense atmosphere of heated debates, late-night negotiations and failed progress in many areas, the two weeks nevertheless witnessed energized advocacy for gender equality, women's leadership and an unprecedented level of civil society action. The stakes rose and the call to action became even more urgent with the arrival of super typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, prompting developing country governments to call out developed countries on the grave consequences, contemporary and future, for their current inaction. Even though progress was generally stalled at COP-19, there were important steps taken to address the effects of climate policies on women. 'Gender and climate change' was on the agenda and the Global Gender Climate Alliance held a gender workshop. Please see below a recap of the COP and our participation.

CHANGES WITHIN IWECI (now WECAN!): After many internal conversations and council with our expanding circle of allies, we have decided to change from an Initiative to a Network to best continue our international program beyond the IWECI Summit. In this transition, we are changing our name from IWECI to the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN). We are thrilled to have an acronym "WECAN" that people will be able to easily remember and also that will inspire us! WECAN will continue to be a project of the Women's Earth and Climate Caucus (WECC) in partnership with eraGlobal Alliance. Delegates to the IWECI Summit are a part of the Network, and if you or your organization are interested in participating in WECAN beyond receiving our newsletters, please email our outreach coordinator Tamela Fish tamela.fish@gmail.com

WECAN CLIMATE ACTION DECLARATION: The WECAN Declaration sign-on campaign is really moving forward. We are excited to report that people from all over the world are circulating the Declaration and signing it. We also released the Declaration at the UNFCCC and held an action in which women read the Declaration out loud demanding that governments respond with urgency to the climate crisis. The action was dedicated to the women of the Philippines and we were honored that Teresita Vistro of the Philippines, who was representing the National Federation of Women Farmers and the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) was one of the readers. We were also very pleased that Hon. Mary Robinson read with us and participated in the action. Please sign the Declaration and pass along to others: http://www.iweci.org/declaration#.UqKH3KUZza4


WECAN DAY OF ACTION: Women and Climate Justice. There is enthusiasm building with allied women's organizations to have a day of action on February 14, 2014 in collaboration with Eve Ensler's 1 Billion Rising. The overall theme for this day of action is Justice. WECAN has been invited by Eve Ensler to head up the portion of the action on Women and Climate Justice. We want to continue to express urgency, climate justice, solutions and the need to act now. Please let us know if you or your organization would be interested in this day of action for Women and Climate Justice on February 14th. We will have several organizer calls for this action and if you are interested, please email our outreach coordinator Tamela Fish tamela.fish@gmail.com

 Photo Credit: Lori Waselchuk 

WECAN IN THE NEWS: We are heartened that the message and information of the IWECI Summit continues to ripple into the world. Most recently our opening night plenary session with Dr. Vandana Shiva and Dr. Jane Goodall moderated by Amy Goodman was aired on Democracy Now! http://www.democracynow.org/2013/12/4/vandana_shiva_jane_goodall_on_serving

Also, please see our website for a great collection of international media coverage:


WECAN SUPPORT OF INDIGENOUS WOMEN'S AMAZON MOBILIZATION: In light of the recent debate around the Yasun�-ITT initiative and extractive threats, women of the Amazon feel a deep urgency to come to the defense of Mother Earth. They are grandmothers, mothers, daughters, and sisters who are taking the lead in the fight against the exploitation of nature and extraction of coal and oil. 

In October, 60 women from the Amazon mobilized for Life and for the Earth, marching over 250 kilometers from Puyo to Quito, Ecuador to awaken the nation's conscience and bring awareness to this threat, joined by family, friends, and members of the public. One of the main leaders of the mobilization was IWECI Summit Delegate , Patricia Gualinga, who WECAN was honored to support for this effort. Please see: 

Petition Save the Amazon

Youtube Video

CIVIL SOCIETY WALKOUT OF DEADLOCKED TALKS AT THE UN CLIMATE TALKS IN WARSAW:  With only two days to go until the end of the conference, WECAN (formerly IWECI) participated in a mass walk-out of around 800 members of global civil society. Wearing white shirts with signs that said, '#cop19 polluters talk, we walk', and '#volveremoswe will be back', the action included social movements, grassroots organizations, trade unions, women, youth, Indigenous groups, and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs). WECAN supported the message of the action, which was that civil society was voluntarily withdrawing from the Warsaw climate talks and would instead focus on mobilizing people to push governments to take leadership for serious climate action.

 Photo Credit: (AP PhotoCzarek Sokolowski) AP - at Stadion Narodowy


After two weeks of heated exchanges between negotiators from developed and developing countries on who should take more responsibility in reducing emissions and financing loss and damage reparations for countries already suffering from climate change, an agreement was finally reached: an international mechanism that asks countries for  'nationally determined contributions', instead of 'commitments,' for reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the 2015 global climate agreement. Largely seen as a compromise between developing and developed countries, and a building block to delivering the $100 billion promised for adaptation by 2016, WECAN questions the potential efficacy of this.

Climate financing was another contentious issue, with rich countries not yet making pledges to help developing countries cope with the impacts of extreme weather events, rising sea levels, desertification and others.  The United States was adamant in blocking substantive progress in climate financing, particularly on how developed countries will make good on their promise to scale up yearly contributions to USD100 billion by 2020, and has even succeeded in having private finance be counted in as climate finance commitments.

The Warsaw Climate Conference saw the aggressive backtracking of developed countries such as Canada, Japan, the US, Australia and the EU on commitments to climate action and financing. Corporate sponsorship from big polluters, a high-level coal summit endorsed by Poland, the host government - these were signs not just of the lack of commitment to transition to a sustainable future, but also of the growing corporate influence over the UNFCCC, which was denounced by civil society. Read More..

LOOKING AHEAD: You all are our inspiration and the muscle behind our efforts and we are proud of our accomplishments together in 2013. Looking into the new year, we are excited and know we have our work cut out for us. Again we remember the wise words of Mandela,  "It always seems impossible until it's done."  We thank you all for your generous support of our work, and ask you to consider a year-end contribution so we can keep going "until it's done." donate here!


For Climate Justice and care for the Earth and Future Generations,



Mainstream economists have long agreed that putting a price on carbon pollution is the most effective way to fight global warming.

The idea is fairly simple: if industry must pay to spew the carbon pollution that scientists say is the chief cause of global warming, the costs will be passed on to consumers in higher prices for gasoline and electricity. Those high prices are expected to drive the market away from fossil fuels like oil and coal, and toward low-carbon renewable sources of energy.  NY Times article

The government of Ecuador entered the offices of Fundaci�n Pachamama in Quito and shut down their services.

Backlash against our Indigenous allies at Fundaci�n Pachamama has heated up since last Thursday's announcement of the failure of the XI Round oil bidding process. - See more at:The Pachamama Alliance



An internationally agreed target to limit rises in global average temperatures to within 2 degrees Celsius is around double the threshold that would avoid catastrophic climate change, a study by 18 eminent scientists said.  Read more...


Further analysis and actions at COP 19 from our allies WEDO AND GGCA




Our allies at CREDO are reporting that President Obama and Secretary Kerry could be allowing a sham process by oil industry contractors to set the stage for White House approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The end of 2013 marks three years that public pressure has successfully fought off approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. And while we could be facing a situation where the White House continues to put off making this crucial decision, the rumors coming out of Washington suggest that the Obama administration could be moving toward approval in the early months of 2014. What CREDO hearing is this: President Obama and Secretary Kerry have largely removed themselves from the State Department's environmental review of Keystone XL under the guise of avoiding the appearance of exerting political influence over the process.