The UN Climate Talks ended on 23 November 2013 and once again governments made little progress in dealing with climate change in any serious way.

Isis International is one of the women's groups which that been helping to mobilize women and raise awareness around the issues of climate change. The Isis Feminist Activist School on Engendering Climate Justice (2010) as part of a yearlong project where Isis endeavoured to raise awareness on Southern women's experiences of the impact of climate change, its impact on women and its linkages to other gender issues. The project aimed at surfacing southern women's perspectives and feminist analyses on climate change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as well as strengthening feminist positions on gender and climate change in NGO-led processes.

One of the outcomes was the Gender and Climate Justice Tool Kit.

In Warsaw during the November 2013 UN climate talks, women and other civil society groups took the unprecedented action of walking out of the talks. The press release issued by Women in Europe for a Common Future WECF) explains why.

21 November 2013

WECF says “enough is enough”

Civil society groups walk out of Warsaw climate meeting and call on governments to “get serious and match political ambition to climate reality”

Warsaw, Poland: Women Civil Society delegates at the United Nations Climate meeting in Warsaw joined a mass walk out by hundreds of non-governmental organizations present at the negotiations today in protest of the lack of serious progress between government negotiators saying that the COP19 is not delivering real results in spite of a mass of evidence from science and typhoon-hit countries that climate change is already causing millions of victims.

The women who walked out said that for example, during the floods in Bangladesh - 60% of the victims were women and that women are often the majority of the dead and disappeared.

“Our delegates came from all over the world to participate in what they thought were negotiations on ambitious commitments to protect our planet, our societies and our future generations from runaway climate change. However, the governments insist on bickering between themselves on the inside while the Arctic melts and storms rage on the outside,” saidSabine Bock, Climate and Energy Director for WECF. Bock continued: “It is unacceptable that governments are not agreeing on urgent action despite the increasing cost in lives and damage which climate change is causing.”

Sascha Gabizon, Executive Director of WECF said “we need to see commitments by all nations, including the European countries such as France, Netherlands, Germany and Poland. Many of us are concerned about the dominance of corporate interests — in particular coal, fracking and nuclear — at these negotiations. Instead of investing in renewable energy, and immediately halting all subsidies to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries, we see that small producers of solar energy are being stopped in their development, in Spain, France, and now also in Germany. That is unacceptable; corporate fossil fuel interests should be kept entirely out of the UN negotiations.”

Gabizon continued: “We as women’s organisations have joined all major civil society groups in today’s “walk out”, under the theme “polluters talk, we walk”. “We will work with governments for a real outcome both inside the COPs and outside back home.”

Isis Alvarez, a civil society participant and representative of the Global Forest Coalition from Colombia who participated in WECF’s leadership training program at COP 19 said: “This is a very special moment where all sectors of civil society have set their differences aside in order to come together to protest against the lethargy of the climate negotiations here in Warsaw.” 

Sabine Bock concluded: Of course, the women in our network will keep organizing effective local solutions. We have seen how women and men can and will implement real projects on the ground for energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy. These climate solutions are ready to go now and need the support and funding of the worlds’ governments. We will be back next year in Bonn and Lima where we will demand that the strength of the governmental agreements finally matches the power of the storms that grow daily around us. We believe that governments can and must come together to get the job done. We hope that today’s walk out alarm is the wake up call the governments need to get going.”

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