Forests – a feminist issue

18th August 2010 by

I have been to the last two COPs (climate change conferences) – in Poznan and Copenhagen. They were both incredibly draining and frustrating, watching our negotiators move ever-so-slowly to a not-quite-conclusion. It is enough to make you swear off climate policy for good. But (sigh) I keep on coming back for more. Why? Because there are vital issues at stake.

We cannot forget about the UNFCCC process (the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). If we dismiss it, it will dismiss us. So many of the decisions being made this year in Bonn, China and Mexico, are by old, rich, white men – not the same group of people who are going to be most impacted by the affects of climate change – women, indigenous communities, the young, the poor.

One text within the UNFCCC process that looks near completion is REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) which, as it stands, threatens the livelihoods of women across the world.  Irrespective of whether the principles of REDD are sound, the host city for COP16 this November (that’s the 16th climate change conference to you and me) is Mexico, who would like nothing better than to say that they had helped seal the deal on REDD, and so will push countries to agree.

Of course we could say that this is exactly what we are working towards – for countries to pull their fingers out and agree on something that can contribute to keeping us under 2 degrees global warming. But rushing an agreement through that does not take into account the particular needs of disadvantaged and minority groups, particularly women within indigenous communities, could end up making everything a whole lot worse.

Read the full post over at Call 4


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