Finally, an International Agreement to Bring Women to the Climate Change Table
COP27, the comprehensive U.N. conference on climate change in November, got a lot of attention. But in December, there was a lesser-known U.N. climate-related summit, this one on biodiversity, known as COP15. Held in Montreal, the summit not only made strides toward preserving the natural world, it was also a landmark moment for women in the climate movement.
Member states adopted a gender plan of action and, for the first, time, pledged to address “gender-based violence and environmental linkages — with specific emphasis on women environmental human rights defenders,” writes the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a consortium of 1,400 organizations. The members also declared two targets to address the issue of inclusion in the fight to stop climate change.
One is meant to give traditionally under-represented groups a seat at the planning table:
“Ensure the full, equitable, inclusive, effective and gender-responsive representation and participation in decision-making, and access to justice and information related to biodiversity by indigenous peoples and local communities, respecting their cultures and their rights over lands, territories, resources, and traditional knowledge, as well as by women and girls, children and youth, and persons with disabilities and ensure the full protection of environmental human rights defenders.”
The other promises to include these groups in the implementation of a global response to climate change:
“Ensure gender equality in the implementation of the framework through a gender-responsive approach where all women and girls have equal opportunity and capacity to contribute to the three objectives of the Convention, including by recognizing their equal rights and access to land and natural resources and their full, equitable, meaningful and informed participation and leadership at all levels of action, engagement, policy and decision-making related to biodiversity.”
These are just two of a dozen targets set at the conference. The biggest one calls for countries to effectively manage at least 30 percent of the world’s land, coastal areas, and oceans by 2030. This is a hike from a previous goal of 20 percent. Right now, just 17 percent of land and inland waterways are protected, and only 8 percent of marine areas, according to Protected Planet, which gathers data on conservation efforts.
Also agreed upon by the majority of the 188 member states is to entirely stop the destruction of untouched land by 2030.