One of former UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson’s stories that has stayed with me over the years is how women leaders at the 2012 UN Climate Change Conference got together in the middle of the night to strategize support for the inclusion of a provision about gender equity as a key component of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Decision 23 is a pledge to promote gender balance and improve the participation of women at the negotiating table in future climate change conferences. Their last-minute efforts paid off and Decision 23 was adopted. It’s known as the “Doha Miracle.”
As Mary has noted in her book Climate Justice and in her tireless advocacy as president of the Mary Robinson Foundation, women account for 50 percent of the world’s population but we do not have half of the decision-making power — not in any field, including in the design, planning and implementation of climate policy and action.
Mary believes the way forward towards solutions to the climate crisis is through the new and more actively engaged leadership of women, and at the Connected Women Leaders (CWL) Forum that Ronda Carnegie and I co-convened in Bellagio, Italy in April, she challenged the 30 global women leaders present to make a commitment to put climate justice at the center of their work — whatever their primary focus might be — and to become a Connected Leader for Climate Justice. Every woman in attendance said “yes” and together co-wrote our own declaration, inviting other women and girls to join us.
This week in NY, we officially launched the CWL Declaration on Climate Justice at the Doc Society’s Climate Story Lab. Along with Dr. Katharine Wilkinson and Mary Robinson, Jess Search and her team led the effort in further shaping the Declaration, bringing in others with our new #WomenLeadClimate initiative.
I hope you will join us by signing on to the Declaration at WomenLeadClimate.org.
The mission of CWL is to activate the power of women, working together through connected leadership, to find better solutions to global challenges.
CWL is building a transformative global agenda centered on climate justice and its link to gender equity, recognizing that education, human security, economic opportunity, and the health and well-being of women and girls are critically interconnected.
The launch is the start of what we hope will galvanize women leaders from across all sectors of society to prioritize climate justice in a new way.
Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, author of The New York Times bestseller Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming and vice president at Project Drawdown, a nonprofit lifting up climate solutions, wrote a powerful op-ed in Time magazine on why we should all be championing women leading on climate change.
The CWL’s Declaration on Climate Change states that “the climate movement cannot succeed without an urgent upsurge in women’s leadership across the Global South and the Global North. Women and girls are already boldly leading on climate justice, addressing the climate crisis in ways that heal, rather than deepen, systemic injustices. Yet, these voices are often under-represented and efforts inadequately supported.
Now is the moment to recognize the wisdom and leadership of women and girls. Now is the moment to grow in number and build power. We invite all of our sisters to rise and to lead on climate justice, and for those with relative power and privilege to make space for and support others.
To change everything, we need everyone.
We actively and decisively pledge to use our positions of power and privilege to:
Support women and girls around the world to step forward and claim their space and leadership within the climate movement, and to lift up their voices and stories. All women and girls have a place in this work.
Unify women’s efforts to create equity in health, education, economy, politics, peace and security, and beyond with the climate justice movement. Human rights and climate are inseparable.
Raise the climate crisis and solutions for consideration in all institutional settings possible, including boards, initiatives, conferences, and forums. The climate crisis is everyone’s issue.”
One Earth. One chance. Let’s seize it.
As Mary Robinson often says, “Climate change is a manmade problem that requires a feminist solution.”
We urge you to sign the Declaration if you support these goals and to circulate it via social media, email, whatever platform you prefer, to others (men and women!) who care about taking action toward mitigating the effects of climate change and securing all populations — especially the most vulnerable — against the inevitable worsening effects of natural disasters and the changing landscape of the earth and our dependence on it.
Read the full declaration at WomenLeadClimate.org.
Join us by adding your signature here.
And if you’re on social media, please help spread the word by posting your support w/#womenleadclimate. On Instagram and Twitter, follow the conversation at @weleadclimate. Here are some graphics to help you get involved!