Opening Statement Women’s Major Group at UNEA5.2

Read the Women’s Major Group’s opening statement at the Opening Plenary of the Fifth Session of the UN Environment Assembly, given by Frezer Yeheyis. 

Thank you co-facilitators, I am Frezer from the PHE Ethiopia consortium, speaking on behalf of the Women’s Major Group

This UNEA is about to become a historic event when it agrees to END PLASTIC POLLUTION, through AN INTERNATIONAL LEGALLY BINDING INSTRUMENT. We congratulate all involved for the progress so far.

It is important that all decisions that come out of UNEA, fully take into account the rights of women and other rightsholders.  In cluster 4, we fear that the rights and needs of women have been deprioritized compared to the economic interests of corporations. We express our concern about the increasing corporate influence on UNEA and we call to speed up work on the UNHCR  legally binding treaty on business and human rights.

Because of historic discriminiation, women tend to have less secure land tenure rights. They are often dependent upon the non-monetary values that ecosystems provide. This is key for the resolutions addressing natural and mineral resources. These sectors see lots of conflict and land-grabbing. Moreover, the draft resolution on Nature-based solutions will severely undermine and bypass the mandate and work of the CBD, and thus, we urge countries to fundamentally reconsider it.

Last but not least, we recall that the Military is possibly the world’s biggest emitter of climate emissions and destroys the environment, including with toxic chemicals and radioactive materials.  We therefore want to emphasize that there CANNOT be sustainable development without PEACE. We express our profound solidarity with all the victims of current international and civil wars. We call on governments to immediately HALT ALL MILITARY interventions and other forms of violence and to solve political disagreements through peaceful dialogue that fully respects all human rights, including women’s rights

Thank you