To Address Climate Change, We Need Social Change: Rural Women's Rights are Key to Solutions
Posted on: Tuesday, December 1, 2009
As world leaders gather in Copenhagen to negotiate a climate change agreement, women’s organizations emphasize that the creation of any new policy is an opportunity to advance human rights. While most Parties to the UNFCCC approach climate change as a technical or scientific problem, we hold that human rights are central to resolving the crisis. In particular, we call on the Parties—and the US in particular—to recognize small-holder women farmers as a crucial, but underrepresented constituency in addressing the crisis.
MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization, and our partners in Nicaragua, Peru, Kenya and Sudan emphasize that small holder women farmers are not only disproportionately threatened by climate change; they also hold key solutions in the eco-agricultural practices they have developed over generations. A climate agreement that upholds the full range of women’s human rights and promotes sustainable agriculture is critical to stabilizing the climate, preserving the balance of the planet and safeguarding the rights of all of its inhabitants.
|Dear President Obama and the US Delegation to Copenhagen,|
When President Obama took office, he promised a change from his predecessor’s failed climate policy. On the very night of his victory speech, he recognized that we inhabit “a planet in peril.” The time for bold action to address the threats of climate change—and uphold the rights of those most directly impacted by those threats—is now.
One of the most pervasive outcomes of gender discrimination is poverty among women and girls, who represent 70 percent of the world’s poor. As such, women are disproportionately threatened by impacts of climate change, including disruptions in agriculture caused by increased droughts, flooding and rising temperatures.
Women also make up the vast majority of the world’s small-holder farmers, with specialized knowledge of sustainable agriculture, preservation of biodiversity, water collection and seed banking. These are the very practices that hold solutions to the inter-related crises of climate change, ecological destruction, rural poverty and abuses of women’s human rights.
President Obama leads the country with the highest per capita carbon emissions in the world. Positive leadership from President Obama and the United States delegation in Copenhagen is critical to securing an effective climate agreement. We therefore call on you to:
African Indigenous Women Organization, East Africa