Global South Feminists Have Recommendations for COP26 Negotiators

Illustration by Paula Champagne

Climate justice means… tackling the root causes of the climate crisis–including unsustainable production, consumption, and trade–while making progress towards equity and the protection and realisation of human rights.

Menka Goundan, Women’s Fund Fiji

COP26 – the annual event two years in the making thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic – is at last upon us. 

This UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties has the potential to be a critical milestone in the fight against climate change – but only if it centres the needs and solutions of individuals and communities directly impacted by the climate crisis. These include global South women, young women, girls, and non-binary people in all their diversity. 

In September 2021, the Equality Fund convened over 30 representatives from global South women’s rights organisations and feminist movements. This Dialogue on Feminist Climate Action aimed to amplify their voices to ensure they are at the forefront and considered by decision-makers before, during, and after COP26.

Why is this crucial? 

  1. The climate crisis is beyond urgent. Climate impacts are already being felt, especially in the global South. Now is a critical moment to halt global warming at 1.5 degrees. 
  2. Those closest to the problem at hand often have the most effective solutions. Global south women, young women, girls, and non-binary people are dispropoprtionately affected by climate impacts, from crop failure to water scarcity, natural disasters to conflict and disease. They are also developing and implementing necessary responses to the climate crisis. 
  3. Feminist movements see the climate crisis differently. COP tends to treat the climate change response as a technical issue, i.e. “Let’s measure carbon and see how much we can limit it.” In contrast, a rights-based, people-centered approach protects human rights and resources the adaptation and resilience of those most vulnerable to climate change.
  4. Especially this year, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, global South women face extra barriers to COP participation. Creative strategies are needed to  overcome these barriers. 

We invite you to take a look at what Dialogue participants had to say:

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