Dear Community,
Happy Earth Day to all! This Earth Day we are lifting up the many women leaders and land defenders all over the world who are fighting for our global communities and the sacred systems of life every day of the year. 

The vital work of women and gender-diverse leaders comes at a time of immense interlocking crisis, and for land defenders, in a terrain of risk, criminalization, and persecution. We know that as threats to ecosystems increase, women land defenders are harmed first and worse. This is a critical time to stand with courageous leaders who are fighting everyday to protect human rights, forests, water, climate, communities and future generations. 

All of our lives, the integrity of the living Earth, and the future of generations to come depends upon the work of many outstanding women land and community defenders.

Today and everyday, we commit to working together diligently with our diverse networks and partners to bring support, action, and global attention to the struggles and solutions of frontline women. Thank you for all you do— together we will continue to rise and collectively build a future founded on care, love, and respect for each other and Mother Earth.

Please read more about WECAN's upcoming and recent events and actions where powerful women and gender-diverse leaders are speaking out for people and planet!
Join us on April 26:
Women Leaders Say NO to Fossil Fuel Financing!
Women Leading Efforts to Uphold Indigenous Rights, Sovereignty, and Due Diligence with Financial Institutions and Corporations
Tuesday April 26, 1:00pm ET, New York Time
**Please check your time zone to coordinate**
Join us on April 26th for WECAN's upcoming event where we will hear from Indigenous women and allies standing up for communities and climate, and saying no to financial institutions financing fossil fuels and enabling human and Indigenous rights abuses!

During the event, Indigenous women leaders and global advocates will discuss how financial institutions and corporations perpetuate human and Indigenous rights violations in relation to extractive and other industries and the necessary steps these institutions must take to stop these egregious activities— and instead, implement FPIC, Indigenous rights and due diligence, while also investing in solutions within a climate justice framework centering Traditional Ecological Knowledge. This is a formal side event as part of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).

From the frontlines of extractive projects, the boardrooms of financial institutions, to the halls of governments, Indigenous women are leading efforts to uphold Indigenous rights and sovereignty, including the right of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). 

Speakers include: Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Nation), Ponca Environmental Ambassador and WECAN Board Member; Sônia Guajajara (Guajajara), Executive Coordinator for Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (APIB); Eriel Tchekwie Deranger (Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation), Executive Director of Indigenous Climate Action; Michelle Cook (Dine’/Navajo), Human rights lawyer and founder of Divest Invest Protect and Indigenous Human Rights Defenders and Corporate Accountability Program; Leila Salazar-Lopez, Executive Director of Amazon Watch; and Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN).
Milestone for Women Land Defenders in Latin America & Caribbean: Historic COP1 for the Escazú Agreement
This week, from April 20 - 22, countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region are convening for the first, historic meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to address the Regional Agreement for the Access to Information, to Public Participation an Access to Justice on Environmental issues in Latin America and the Caribbean, also known as Escazú Agreement.

The accord is a legally binding multilateral treaty expanding to all countries in the LAC region, and is particularly unique in centering the rights and access needs of vulnerable populations and environmental defenders when considering projects that impact the environment.

During the COP, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) launched a new online resource to provide legal analysis and support for women land defenders in Latin America and the Caribbean in accessing and protecting their human rights through the Articles of the Escazú Agreement.

The resource provides legal analysis, research, and evaluation of how the Escazú Agreement can be best implemented in different countries.
Additionally, on April 19th, WECAN hosted a formal COP1 Side Event, “Implementing the Escazú Agreement: Opportunities and Implications for Women Land Defenders and Human Rights Advocates,” in support of women land defenders. During the side event panelist Patricia Gualinga, a Kichwa Indigenous Leader and Spokesperson for Mujeres Amazonicas from Sarayaku, Ecuador, stated:
“There were many land defenders killed last year. We stand with women. This is a women’s fight. [The current] economic model does not work. I think this model violates our ability to live in a healthy and just world. The Escazú Agreement highlights all elements we fight for— highlights access to information and highlights demand for justice. The government threatens us, they do not take care of us— the citizens, the women fighting. We need to protect those protecting the Amazon. There is no justice for us but we will keep on fighting as women— with and for our communities. We, civil society, will keep fighting.”

​Latin America specifically is one of the deadliest regions for environmental land defenders. In 2020, 227 land and environmental defenders were killed – with over two-thirds of killings taking place in Latin America. This violence has a significant impact on local communities and the safeguarding of vital ecosystems.

Throughout the event, women policy makers, Indigenous leaders, and human rights defenders discussed the challenges women face in securing human and Indigenous rights, participating in climate and environmental policy, and the importance of proper implementation of the Escazú Agreement to ensure rights and access are upheld and protected. Please watch the recording to hear from all the speakers.

Speakers included:
Patricia Gualinga (Kichwa), Indigenous leader from Sarayaku, Spokeswoman for Mujeres Amazónicas Defensoras de la Selva, Ecuador; Sônia Guajajara (Guajajara), Executive Coordinator for Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (APIB), Brazil; Ruth Spencer, Deputy Chair of the Marine Ecosystems Protected Areas (MEPA) Trust, Antigua and Barbuda; H.E. Ms. Patricia Madrigal Cordero, lawyer, Ex-Vice-minister of Environment, Costa Rica; Helena Gualinga, (Kichwa), Indigenous youth social and climate activist, Ecuador; Paloma Costa, Member of the United Nations Secretary General's Youth Advisory Group, Brazil; Carmen Capriles, Founder of Reacción Climática, WECAN Coordinator for Latin America, Bolivia; and Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director, USA.
Uplifting the Fossil Fuel Treaty:
a Bold Feminist Climate Solution
On April 21, Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Nation), WECAN Board Member, and Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director, joined powerful global leaders to expose the roots of the climate crisis and militarism, while elevating new approaches to building a healthy and just future, including the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is an initiative to phase-out fossil fuels and fast-track climate solutions inspired by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The main cause of the climate emergency is fossil fuels. According to the latest IPCC report, coal, oil and gas are responsible for 86% of all carbon dioxide emissions in the past decade.

We must phase out fossil fuels immediately if we want to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Phasing out fossil fuel production, and fast-tracking progress towards safer and more cost-effective alternatives, will require unprecedented international cooperation in three main areas – non-proliferation, global disarmament and a peaceful, just transition.

We are honored that WECAN Executive Director Osprey Orielle Lake sits on the Steering Committee for the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, and we look forward to continuing to uplift this innovation climate solution. 
Stop Line 5 Advocacy Updates
The fight to stop Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline continues to escalate in Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region of the United States. 

The current Line 5 Pipeline, which is long past its lifespan, is pumping tar sands oil under expired permits. Enbridge's proposed new Line 5 pipeline expansion and re-route would threaten local aquifers and waterways, Treaty Rights, and our global climate.

Despite the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s request that Enbridge remove Line 5 and not build a new pipeline in the Bad River watershed, Enbridge has moved forward with their reroute just south of their reservation. This expansion is still within the watershed, and the risk to the vital ecosystem remains extensive.

WECAN is continuing efforts to support Indigenous women leaders on the ground to fight back and stop the Line 5 pipeline from running through their communities and territories.

Please check our social media next week for further updates on ongoing advocacy to stop Line 5.
Protect Old Growth Forests on Earth Day!
Mature and old growth forests are some of our most powerful climate solutions. But these forests are still being logged when they should be protected as important biodiverse ecosystems that support carbon sequestration, food sovereignty, wildlife habitat, and clean water. We need the Biden administration and all global leaders to understand that forest defense is climate defense!

Over 100 groups, including WECAN have been calling on President Biden to take executive action to protect mature and old growth trees and forests on federal lands to fight climate change.

We are glad to announce that on Friday, April 22, President Biden will sign an executive order laying the groundwork for protecting some of the biggest and oldest trees in America’s forests. And, of course, much more work still needs to be done. WECAN has been advocating for old-growth forest protection for years and we will continue to advocate and fight for protection forests in perpetuity. 
Please consider supporting WECAN as we continue to uplift the leadership and solutions of women and feminists worldwide fighting for climate justice and the defense of the planet for current and future generations.
For the Earth and All Generations,

Women's Earth and Climate Action Network
(WECAN) International Team