Back to top

Global Indigenous Women Demand Climate and Gender Justice at UN

April 26, 2017—Indigenous women climate defenders from around the globe are taking a stand for climate justice and women’s rights at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) this week in New York.

In addresses to the UN on Thursday and Friday, April 27 and 28, the women will call on the international community to center Indigenous women’s leadership in climate policy. On Saturday, April 29, in Washington, DC, Indigenous participants Kandi Mossett and Alina Saba will address the People’s Climate March.

This delegation serves to highlight Indigenous women’s vital leadership in grassroots movements to model sustainable environmental solutions and halt climate-destroying industries, such as mining, in their territories. The delegates also play key roles in addressing gender-based violence in communities on the frontlines of climate disaster.

The delegation has been jointly organized by MADRE and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office.

  • Lucy Mulenkei, Maasai advocate from Kenya and Director of the Indigenous Information Network, a MADRE partner organization, will address the UNPFII on Thursday, April 27 at 3-6pm. In her extensive work to support biodiversity and Indigenous rights, Mulenkei has documented increases in certain forms of gender-based violence in communities suffering climate change-induced drought.
  • In sessions on Thursday, April 27 and Friday, April 28 from 10am-1pm, leading Nepal-based Indigenous woman scholar and activist, Yasso Kanti Battachan, of the Thakali Indigenous community, will call for support for Indigenous women’s rights as fundamental to sustainable solutions to climate change.
  • Alina Saba, Indigenous Limbu woman and climate activist from Nepal, will address the crowds at the Saturday, April 29 People’s Climate March, as will Kandi Mossett, Indigenous tribal member of Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara tribal nation in North Dakota who has been active at Standing Rock.

Other delegates include Miskito leader Rose Cunningham, Director of Wangki Tangni, a MADRE partner organization, and longstanding women’s and Indigenous rights activist in Nicaragua; and Heather Milton Lightening, Co-Director of the Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign in Ottawa, Canada.   

“As women from communities on the frontlines of climate change, it is critical that we make our voices heard during the People’s Climate March,” said Rose Cunningham. “We’re fighting for justice in communities suffering from climate catastrophes, and it is time for Indigenous women to be at the forefront of climate policymaking.”

“The women of this delegation, like so many Indigenous women worldwide, have crucial expertise that must be heard and acted upon by our policymakers—at the UN, in DC and wherever climate policies are decided,” said Yifat Susskind, MADRE Executive Director. 

When you support MADRE, you help women in Kenya and around the world gain the tools they need to provide for their families.

Learn How >