Dear Community,
As we approach this year's United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the impacts of intersecting crises from climate disruption, COVID-19, Indigenous rights violations, racism, economic inequality and patriarchy continue to escalate in many regions. The stakes could not be higher— our community safety and well being, thriving natural world, and the future of today's youth and upcoming generations literally hang in the balance.

This September, WECAN International is taking action during UNGA and Climate Week, advocating with frontline communities for the protection of Mother Earth. While we push on the agendas of governments to take the ambitious and just action we desperately need, we are not waiting. We are fighting for and amplifying community-led solutions and movements that are being led by women and femmes, and especially those from frontline, grassroots, Indigenous and Black women, and women of color from around the world— these are the solutions that we need!

Please continue reading to learn about our upcoming Climate Week action and advocacy events and click here to donate and support us through Climate Week and beyond!
Action Forum— Ratifying the Escazú Agreement:
Women for Human Rights & The Defense of Nature
Lea la descripción del webinar en español aquí. ¡Gracias Raquel por traducir!
Please be invited to join The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International and Reacción Climática for this online forum to learn about the indispensable Escazú Agreement, and how you can take action to advocate for the ratification and full implementation of this vital piece of legislation that can protect land defenders and Mother Earth. Spanish interpretation will be available during the forum. Habrá interpretación al español durante el foro.

In 2018, countries of Latin America and the Caribbean adopted the Regional Agreement for 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 Escazú Agreement is an historic multilateral accord guaranteeing access rights on environmental matters, and the protection of human rights and environmental defenders. Although the Agreement was adopted, it must now be ratified to come into full effect.

Latin America is one of the deadliest regions for environmental land defenders. In 2019, of those officially recorded, 212 land and environmental defenders were killed – with over two-thirds of killings taking place in Latin America. Combined with entrenched colonial and patriarchal policies, individuals threatened are oftentimes Indigenous peoples and Women Environmental and Human Rights Defenders (WEHRD) fighting for the protection of their communities and territories. Frontline and Indigenous women are often the backbones of their communities, knowledge keepers of their forests and waterways, and lead resistance efforts to defend their lands. 
Numerous studies have shown that the most effective ways to protect biodiverse regions, such as the Amazon rainforest, is to protect the rights and sovereignty of Indigenous peoples. With Indigenous Peoples maintaining and stewarding 80% of the biodiversity left on the planet, it is imperative to implement policies and frameworks, such as those included in the Escazú Agreement, that ensure Human Rights and the protection of Environmental Defenders, including their access to decision making, public information, and justice mechanisms. In doing so, the Escazú Agreement is ensuring the rights of Indigenous land defenders and communities, as well as protecting the planet from further climate collapse and ecological degradation. Additionally, we know that when women are at the forefront of decision making —the Earth and our communities are prioritized. 

During this online forum, women policy makers, Indigenous leaders, and human rights defenders will highlight the challenges women face and their solutions in securing human and Indigenous rights, protecting their territories from extractive industries, participating in climate policy, and sharing the importance of the ratification of the Escazú Agreement. Our goal is to engage regional stakeholders, with the backing of international civil society, in the Escazú Agreement with the aim of propelling two more countries to ratify the Agreement in order for it to enter into full force next year (2021). We will also discuss how the Escazú Agreement can be a powerful tool for Women Environmental and Human Rights Defenders (WEHRD) to protect their human rights and to be able to analyze legal frameworks that allow WEHRD to carry on their activism with the awareness that Escazú Agreement can help accomplish their efforts in a safe and more effective manner.

Speakers include: Patricia Gualinga, Kichwa leader from Sarayaku, Spokeswoman for Mujeres Amazónicas Defensoras de la Selva (Ecuador); María Luisa Rafael, Quechua leader, Human Rights and Environmental activist (Bolivia); Taily Terena, Terena Nation, Indigenous rights activist (Brazil); Andrea Sanhueza, public representative for the Escazú agreement (Chile); Ruth Spencer, GEF/SGP National Coordinator (Antigua and Barbuda); H.E. Ms. Patricia Madrigal Cordero, Ex-Vice-minister of Environment (Republic of Costa Rica); Ana Llácer, Journalist, Filmmaker & Environmental Activist (Spain & USA); Carmen Capriles, Founder of Reacción Climática, WECAN Coordinator for Latin America (Bolivia); Paloma Costa, youth climate leader (Brazil); with facilitation and comments by Osprey Orielle Lake Executive Director of WECAN International (USA). Full speaker bios available here.

The women speakers are leaders on the frontlines, international policymakers, and Escazú Agreement advocates who are also the inspiration for alternatives and solutions for a healthy and just world at this critical time of multiple expanding crises. If you would like to learn more about the Escazú Agreement, please see this link.
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Panel Discussion— Indigenous Rights & Women’s Leadership are Central to Divestment Strategies
In light of the intensifying climate crisis and Covid-19 pandemic, it has never been more clear the importance of Indigenous rights and self-determination and women’s leadership as central strategies for justice and protection of Mother Earth. From the frontlines of extraction to the boardrooms of financial institutions to the halls of governments, Indigenous women are leading resistance efforts against the fossil fuel industry. Indigenous women and their allies are building critical strategies for divestment from fossil fuels, calling for justice and accountability from the financial sector, and advocating for a Just Transition that places people and planet first. 

Worldwide, Indigenous communities are disproportionately affected by ongoing extractive industries, which endanger human rights and neglect Indigenous People’s right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Fossil fuel extraction and pipelines often run through Indigenous territories where many Indigenous peoples have not given consent for extraction or construction, a clear violation of FPIC that puts Indigenous communities at risk of further environmental and cultural injustice.

Backed by banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions, fossil fuel companies continue to push forward projects, further exposing Indigenous communities to environmental pollution and now also COVID-19. Along with extraction and infrastructure, fossil fuel companies also develop ‘man camps’, which house workers from outside the community and have been directly linked with increased rates of drug use, sex trafficking and missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. 

Indigenous women and their allies are demanding that financial institutions adhere to the Paris Climate Agreement, protect the climate, respect the rights of nature, and the rights and lives of Indigenous communities experiencing the impacts of fossil fuel development. While much more is still needed, divestment advocacy, direct actions, and campaigning are having a critical impact on the fossil fuel industry regarding moving funds out from the dirty energy sector and generating policy changes to uphold Indigenous and human rights as we face the climate crisis.
This is a critical time to stand with courageous Indigenous women leaders, support their calls to action, and to learn from their resistance efforts as well as their essential healing knowledge. When we stand together, we have the collective power to demand accountability from the institutions financing pipelines and fossil fuel extraction projects, and build an Earth-centered, just transition to regenerative, renewable energy for all. Though presenters are primarily representing a North American context, the struggles and solutions are global.

Speakers include: Casey Camp Horinek, Ponca Nation, long-time Native rights activist, Environmental Ambassador and WECAN Board Member; Monique Verdin, Houma Nation, Director of The Land Memory Bank & Seed Exchange, Organizer with Another Gulf is Possible; Michelle Cook, Diné, Founder of Divest Invest Protect, Founder and Co-Director of the Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegations; with facilitation and comments by Osprey Orielle Lake, Founder of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), Co-Director of the Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegations.
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Thank you and we hope you can join us!
Take Action— Protect the Tongass Rainforest!
The third WECAN Indigenous Women’s Tongass Delegation met with lawmakers in August to address the current attacks on forest protections, their ancestral homelands in Alaska, and the global climate.

The Tongass rainforest exists within the traditional territories of the Tlingit, Haida, Tsmishian Peoples and is the United States' best defense against the worsening climate crisis. Right now, the Trump administration is seeking to repeal the Roadless Rule in the Tongass, a key measure protecting over 9 million acres of old-growth forest from industrial scale logging, road making, and mining exploration. We advocated for Congressional members to endorse the new Roadless Area Conservation Act, which would permanently protect over 60 million acres of sacred forest ecosystems throughout the United States, including the Tongass National Forest.
NEW ATTACK: Submit a Public Comment now!

On September 4, the Trump administration announced plans for yet another massive timber sale that would destroy more than 5,100 acres of critical old-growth habitat in the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. WECAN is working to stop this assault on the Tongass and Indigenous Peoples in their forest homelands. You can support by adding your public comment here to object!

“As forests across the America's burn, the last thing we need to do is destroy old-growth forests in the Tongass Rainforest — one of the United States' best defenses against furthering the climate crisis," said Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director for the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN). "Existing within the territories of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsmishian peoples, the Tongass is a vital ecosystem necessary to the traditional life-ways of local Indigenous communities. Destroying critical old-growth in the Tongass, not only devastates wildlife habitat and harms the climate, but disregards the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples and further perpetuates modern genocidal policies. We must stand together for our forests, communities and the climate.”
Sign the Petition: Encourage your Elected Officials to Stand with the Tribes of Southeast Alaska

Recently, nine tribes in southeast Alaska filed a petition calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to halt the removal of protections for the Tongass National Forest, the world's largest remaining intact rainforest, which is vital to the Indigenous communities that call the forest home.

The national petition will ensure that the communities who depend on the Tongass the most are given adequate opportunities and processes to impact decision making. We need your help to make sure these communities' call for justice are listened to. Please ask your elected officials to stand with Tribes and support their petition -- learn more and sign here!
Women Speak: Wildfires
Record-breaking wildfires continue to expand and multiply across the western part of the United States, greatly impacting our WECAN team and community. While we take action in our personal lives to support our communities and loved ones, WECAN is also leveraging our research and storytelling database, Women Speak: Stories, Case Studies And Solutions From The Frontlines Of Climate Change, to share research and stories connected to wildfires, which have become increasingly worse due to the climate crisis.

Our Women Speak team is hard at work, providing ever-growing sources of information and research on the ongoing wildfires in the United States. Please explore stories and research related to Wildfires here!
For our USA Network:
Please Remember to Register to Vote!
2020 has already proven to be a pivotal and historic time for our planet, and in the United States we are almost 50 days away from an election that will significantly impact the fate of our communities and the planet.

Your vote matters now more than ever! Vote for our communities, Vote for the Earth. Vote for future and current generations who deserve a livable planet in which to thrive. Registering to vote in each state varies, click here to learn how to vote in your state.
Our team continues to operate fully, despite wildfires and COVID-19, dedicated ever more to accelerating a global women's movement for the protection and defense of the Earth’s diverse ecosystems and communities. Thank you for all your support of WECAN during this time.
For the Earth and All Generations,

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