Our first thoughts after CSW66

Prior to the kick-off of the Commission on the Status of Women, we felt like there was a unique opportunity to build on the momentum of the COP in Glasgow. In the first time since its conception, the priority theme of the CSW was “achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes”. However, the sentiment during the CSW was clear: “this is not a COP”.

We share the many worries of the Women’s Rights Caucus (WRC) – “a global coalition of over 200 feminist organizations, advocating for gender equality at the United Nations” – which they expressed in their online press conference. As our partner WO=MEN summarized; “particularly, the WRC wanted to express concern over the lack of commitment to climate justice during this year’s CSW,” “the central importance of the inclusion of ‘loss and damage’ in the agreed conclusions” as well as the harmful “restriction of civic space”.

We are grateful that our colleague Sanne Van de Voort was able to join the CSW as the NGO Representative in the Dutch Delegation, offering her the unique position to enter the negotiation space. However, as Sanne also strongly declared to the Delegates in her statement during the General Discussion, many voices were missing during this CSW. “I stand in solidarity with those thousands of women (in all their diversity) that cannot be here today to raise their own voices,” Sanne states. “They cannot be here because of inequalities: from discriminatory visa restrictions to vaccine inequity to financial restraints or conflicts and war. The absence of civil society is unjustifiable and will reduce the outcomes and impacts of this CSW.”

We made ourselves heard

Still, we cannot be silenced. We made ourselves heard in the many side and parallel events that we organised together with our global partners, fostering meaningful discussions highlighting the crucial role that civil society has to play in pushing the gender, environmental and climate change agenda. For example, we discussed the importance of working from local to global during our parallel event with our partner Women Environmental Programme during the parallel event “Local Action to National Policy” and we highlighted the crucial role of women and youth initiatives to fight climate change during the side event attended by the Dutch minister Robbert Dijkgraaf.

The last day of the CSW, March 25, one of the winners of our Gender Just Climate Solutions Award Lucie Gamond joined the SPARK e-session on ‘Ecofeminist voices – connecting regional activism’ during the last day of the CSW, along with Ruth Esther Diaz Medrano, President of Fenamutra, the national union of the women workers of Dominican Republic and Dr. Yvonne Maingey-Muriuki, who runs CaelKlima, a climate change adovisory and product development start up based in Kenya. Lucie Gamond is the founder of IMECE and supports Syrian women refugees through a solar engineering course, in which they are also trained to build EFE (Energy For Everyone) Solar Batteries, to provide an autonomous source of energy, to facilitate life saving communication.  To keep the movement alive, we will co-organise the following Spark event Turning Words into Action – How to engage in advocacy based on the CSW Agreed Conclusions’ on April 21 – 18-20h CEST

Continue to push the ecofeminist agenda

As Sanne declared, “we can’t go backwards: not on human rights, nor on climate action”. So we continue to push the ecofeminist agenda, and hope that the CSW – as well as the COP – will increasingly become spaces that recognize that gender inequality and the climate crisis cannot be solved in silos.

Watch the WRC Press Conference