COP22 Marrakech -
Women Rising for Climate Justice
November 26, 2016
Dear Friends and Allies,

The Women's Earth and Climate Action Network has just returned from two weeks on the ground in Marrakech, Morocco at the 2016 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP22 climate talks, where, with our global frontline, civil society, grassroots and Indigenous women allies, we took action, marched in the streets, held events and press conferences, and advocated day and night for climate justice and women's leadership at the forefront of meaningful action to address accelerating climate change.

At the close of COP22, WECAN International reaffirms that women around the world stand at the forefront of the climate crisis, and are leading the way forward to address issues of social and ecologic justice, building a just transition to renewable energy, and creating a livable future for all. They stand in diversity, strength, resistance and love to denounce exploitation of the Earth and her peoples - taking action both within the UNFCCC and governmental processes, and with their communities, on the frontlines, in the streets, in the fields and in the forests. 

Women for climate justice will not wait for stagnated politicians, nor rely on change within broken systems - we will continue to make our struggles and solutions known within the 'halls of power', and we will simultaneously push back and move forward to build the other world that we know is possible. 

Frontline, Indigenous and grassroots women from the Imider movement in Morocco to the Amazon rainforest in South America - from Standing Rock in the US, to small Islands Nations of the Maldives and Marshall Islands, and countless places in between are all calling for an end to extractivism and immediate action to protect water, land and climate for all generations present and future.

Click here to read our full WECAN COP22 analysis blog - in which we discuss progress on inclusion of gender in international climate commitments; stagnation and failure to address historic responsibility of wealthy nations; climate leadership in renewable energy by some of the worlds most climate vulnerable countries; global solidarity to move forward on climate in the face of a Trump presidency; Indigenous rights and Rights of Nature as central to systemic change;  and vital calls to stop all new fossil fuel extraction NOWl

With the recent election of a climate skeptic and a strong fossil fuel proponent as the next U.S. president , we reaffirm our continued commitment to action within and outside of climate talks and negotiations. We stand to make sure women's voices are heard; to expose polluters and false solutions; to offer just solutions; and to spark vital conversations and actions around topics including seed saving, soil and farming, tree planting, Indigenous sovereignty, ending market mechanisms and neoliberal economic models, rights of nature, Traditional Ecologic Knowledge, overconsumption and lifestyle change, and gender equality and women's leadership at the forefront of all climate decision making.

Highlights from the events, action and advocacy campaigns that we participated in  and organiz ed are shared  below, and further details and photos can be seen in our full COP22 blog.

Our red line has been crossed, and we are rising. We will not stand idly by as temperatures continue to increase and Indigenous peoples and land defenders continue to be criminalized and persecuted. It is far past time for world governments to join women of the world in walking the path of climate justice and immediate, bold and equitable action on climate change. Our magnificent Earth deserves our fullest efforts and dedication.

Along with thousands of marchers, WECAN and allies take action on the streets of Marrakech
Women Leading Solutions on the 
Frontlines of Climate Change - Marrakech
One of four panels and several keynotes presented during WECAN's public event, 'Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change - Marrakech' -  Pictured left to right: Neema Namadamu (Democratic Republic of Congo); Diana Donlon (USA); Natalie Isaacs (Australia); Amina El Hajjami (Amazigh Peoples, Morocco);  Nina Gualinga (Sarayaku Peoples, Ecuador)
On November 14 th , the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network held a major public event in downtown Marrakech, gathering together worldwide women leaders to speak out against environmental and social injustice, draw attention to root causes of the climate crisis, and present the diverse array of visions and strategies with which they are working to shape a healthy and equitable world.

Over the course of four panel discussions and several keynote speeches, women leaders from Morocco, sub-Saharan Africa, Pacific Island Nations, North America, South America, Europe and Continental Asia spoke on diverse issues including women, seeds and soils; women's resistance to fossil fuel extraction; women and forests; oceans; Indigenous struggles for sovereignty and Earth protection; violence against women land defenders;  T raditional  E cologic  K nowledge; and women's leadership in climate policy and strategy, amongst many vital topics.

We were very honored to have the event opened with traditional songs of the Indigenous Amazigh peoples, and to have a special presentation from Moroccan woman leaders of the Imider movement about their ongoing resistance to silver mining in the south of Morocco.

Learn more about the extraordinary speakers and critical topics covered in this event in the full COP22 blog.

Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner (climate activist and poet, Marshall Islands) shares her powerful reflections and spoken word piece, 'Dear Matafele Peinem' during 'Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change - Marrakech' - Photo via Kaliea Frederick
Call to Action for the Protection and Rights of Defenders of the Land Panel featuring (left to right) Nicole Oliveira (Brazil); Kayla DeVault (Shawnee/Anishinaabe Peoples, USA); Cecilia Flores (Aymara Peoples, Chile); and Carmen Capriles (translating, Bolivia)
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, presents a keynote speech
During WECAN's public event, 'Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change - Marrakech' a group of attendees and speakers gather to raise their voices in solidarity with women Earth defenders across the globe
Keynote speaker Her Excellency Hilda Heine, President of the Marshall Islands, meets Alicia Cahuiya and Blanca Chancosa of Ecuador at the start of the event to speak about their struggles to protect the Amazon Rainforest from continued oil extraction
Fatima Khalloufi (right) and Aicha Abouh (left) - women leaders of the Imider, #300kmSouth movement present on their 5 year resistance to silver mining during WECAN's main public event - Photo via Kailea Fredrick of SustainUS
International Climate March
Indigenous leaders from Morocco and around the world lead the Marrakech Climate March - 
Photo by Emily Arasim/WECAN International
On November 13 th , thousands of people from across Morocco and around the word took to the streets of Marrakech to visibilize their social and ecologic struggles and send a strong message to world governments meeting at COP22 that the peoples movement for climate justice will forge ahead with resistance and solutions regardless of the action, or lack thereof, from the political leadership  of our countries. 

WECAN delegation members marched with women allies from across Morocco and around the world.

COP22 Press Conferences and Official Side Events
WECAN COP22 side event speakers Osprey Orielle Lake (USA); Thilmeeza Hussain (Maldives); Neema Namadamu (DR Congo); Marta Ventura (Guatemala); Cecilia Flores (Chile); Precious Phiri (Zimbambe); Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie (Canada); and Carmen Capriles (Bolivia) stand together in solidarity and action at the end of the event, together filling the room with cries of 'act on climate' and 'water is life'
Inside of the formal UNFCCC COP22, WECAN organized and present several official press conferences and side events, during which  extraordinary women leaders from around the world spoke truth to power, shared vital stories, strategies and climate solutions, and refused to shy away from the pressing realities about our global climate crisis and the need for just, women-led action NOW.

WECAN was honored to be a part of ensuring that frontline, grassroots and Indigenous women from around the world have the opportunity to speak for themselves within spaces such as COP22 and to share their on the ground sustainability solutions and resistance movements.

During a Rights of Nature: Foundations for Systemic Change in Climate Solutions' press conference, WECAN's Executive Director, Osprey Orielle Lake shared the critical work of the Rights of Nature movement and Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature - speaking out against the continued commodification of the Earth's living systems within the UNFCCC process, and presenting an alternative vision for a legal and economic system founded upon respect for the inherent rights of our life giving mountains, forests, waters and soils.
WECAN frontline women press conference speakers: Carmen Capriles (translating, Bolivia);
Marta Ventura (Guatemala); Ruth Nyambura (Kenya) ; Neema Namadamu (DR Congo); Thilmeeza Hussain (Maldives); Marta Ventura (Guatemala) and Osprey Orielle Lake (USA)
WECAN delegation members Neema Namadamu (left) of SAFECO and WECAN DR Congo and Thilmeeza Hussain of Climate Wise Women and Voice of Women, Maldives, speak out during WECAN's COP22 press conference
WECAN Delegate and Partner Advocacy
WECAN Executive Director, Osprey Orielle Lake, strategizes with WECAN allies & delegation members, Thilmeeza Hussain of the Maldives, & Carmen Capriles of Bolivia
WECAN International was thrilled to have a strong global delegation on the ground, who in addition to advocacy  efforts, presentations  and participating in WECAN actions and events, also led out individual work to meet with their regional representatives; build partnerships;   exchange with others for movement building;  and  engage within  the negotiating process.
Thank you to Carmen Capriles (longtime WECAN  partner,  Founder of Reaccion Climatica and Women and Gender Constituency member); Neema Namadamu (Founder of SAFECO and WECAN Coordinator in thDemocratic Republic of Congo); Thilmeeza Hussain (Voice of Women and Climate Wise Women, Maldives); Fadoua Brour (Founder of the Moroccan Youth Climate Movement and WECAN Co-Coordinator for the Middle East/North Africa); and women of the Abya Yala Women Messengers of Latin America  for your strong action and advocacy throughout COP22.
Women's Caucus, Women and Gender Constituency Advocacy
and Indigenous Rights
As participants in the Women's Caucus and an ally of the UNFCCC Women and Gender Constituency, WECAN International supported the   Women and Gender Constituency Key Demands at COP22 .

During COP22, we saw the next steps of mainstreaming gender-responsive language and increased space for the voices of Indigenous and women's groups. Significantly, Parties adopted a decision on gender and climate change which extends the 2014 Lima Work Programme on Gender, an d finally m oved from debating why gender is important, to discussions on how to design and implement gender-responsive climate policies. There were many strong conversations on women and gender by national representatives and civil society organizations, however we maintain a strong critique of the lack of concrete action and financial commitment s by governments for  the support of women on the frontlines of climate change. 

We particularly want to honor our hard-working allies, including the Women's Environment and Development Organization, Women in Europe for a Common Future, the All India Women's Conference and others, who have advocated ongoingly for just and gender-responsive action at the UNFCCC. We also want to recognize Founder of Reaccion Climatica, WECAN COP22 delegation member, Carmen Capriles, who worked actively as part of the Women and Gender Constituency, and who delivered the Constituencies final official intervention on the last night of COP22.

Regarding Indigenous issues, much further work is need in the UNFCCC process to truly acknowledge the vital role of Indigenous peoples in climate solutions. It must be recognized that 80% of the bio-diversity left on Earth is in Indigenous lands and territories. Additionally, Indigenous peoples are putting their bodies on the line every day to protect their lands, forests and waterways. First and foremost we all should be supporting our Indigenous allies because they should not be facing brutal violence as they fight to stop the destruction of their homelands and life-ways, however, we also need to understand that everyone's survival is interwoven and we cannot live without water, forests and air. It is paramount that we fight together for Indigenous rights as a central climate solution and it is a tragedy that Indigenous rights was only included in the preamble of the Paris Accord and not the operative part of the text.
Stand With Standing Rock & Other Actions Inside COP22
November 15th Stand with Standing Rock Solidarity Action outside of COP22 - Photo via SustainUS
From Morocco to North Dakota - we stand with Standing Rock. On the November 15 th  Day of Action called for by Indigenous groups in the U.S., WECAN was honored to join a prayer circle and solidarity action held at the entrance to the COP22 venue, with the leadership of Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth delegates with SustainUs. On the 17th, we participated in a second Standing Rock solidarity action inside of COP22.

While on the ground, WECAN delegation members also participated in various direct actions to express strong commitment to forge ahead with meaningful climate action regardless of the results of the recent U.S. election and threats by Trump to remove the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. Osprey Orielle Lake of WECAN spoke with Pacific Standard Magazine on the Marrakech Action Proclamation and the US election - read more here.
Global civil society delegates and national representatives gather on the final day of COP22 to make clear that action on climate will forge ahead despite political roadblocks
With Women of the Land - 
WECAN Visits Women's Cooperatives in Ourika Valley, Morocco
WECAN team members meet with women leaders of the High Atlas Foundation to visit the nurseries of a local women's cooperative
In the days following COP22, WECAN team members were honored to have the opportunity to visit the Ourika Valley outside of Marrakech to learn more about the work of local Indigenous and rural leaders to build a strong women's economy and care for the land and their communities. 

Team members organized an excursion an d accompanied Her Excellency Hilda Heine, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and her daughter, poet and climate activist Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, to visit an organic Argan oil cooperative, and spent time learning more about struggles in the Marshall Islands to confront a legacy of nuclear radiation, ocean pollution and rising seas.

The next day, the WECAN team united with Amina El Hajjami, Amazigh (Berber) Projects Manager of the High Atlas Foundation to visit the tree nurseries of a local women's cooperative and learn about and strategize together around their work to grow and plant trees and medicinal plants as a way of empowering rural and Amazigh women while confronting the impacts of climate change and desertification across the country. 

Women land stewards of the Cooperative Aboghlo Des Femmes D'Ourika
Women Act for Climate Justice: Ten Days of Global Mobilization
Women leaders of Bangladesh share strong messages during Women Act for Climate Justice -  
Via ActionAid Bangladesh
From October 28 to November 6, the days immediately proceeding the UNFCCC COP22 in Marrakech, diverse women and girls around the world in organized together to show our resistance to environmental and social degradation; highlight the climate impacts their communities are facing; demand drastic change away from unjust economic and development systems; and demonstrate the many effective, just and safe climate solutions, strategies and political calls that are being implemented by women and girls around the world on a daily basis.

Hundreds of women and allies from over 35 countries and all continents added powerful action photos and statements, and these messages were carried to Morocco by the WECAN delegation, and shared during various events and meetings. Click to explore powerful actions from around the world collected in the  'Women Act for Climate Justice - Ten Days of Global Mobilization' gallery .

WECAN was honored to co-sponsor this campaign with the Women's Global Call for Climate Justice.

The stories and calls to action shared in the gallery - like the strong voices shared by WECAN delegation members and global allies on the ground during COP22 - ring out with clarity and strength to declare that another world is possible, and that women around the world are already building it day by day. It is far past time for world governments to join women of the world in walking the path of climate justice and immediate, bold and equitable action on climate change.
Italian Climate Action Network members take a stand during the Ten Days of Action 
Donate to Support  Women For Climate Justice
We send the deepest appreciate to all of our donors, partners and members who made 2016 such an outstanding year of action for women's leadership in climate solutions. Donate to the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network today to support our efforts to bring strong women's voices and solutions to the forefront of all climate policymaking and grassroots action for climate justice around the world.
For the Earth and All Generations,
The Women's Earth & Climate Action Network Team