PRESS RELEASE – Feminist Analysis of COP27

In the early hours of Sunday in Sharm-El-Sheikh, governments finally came to an agreement after two weeks of tensed negotiations at COP27.  

Feminist organizations including WECF and other members of the Women and Gender Constituency (WGC), advocated for gender-justice and human-rights to be centered in the decision text, as we see increasing human rights violations and land-grabbing from indigenous peoples and small farmers – in majority women – happening all over the world. Gender-based violence is particularly escalating in the context of the climate crisis, environmental degradation and related displacements, according to a recent report by the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls. “We have come to COP27 with clear demands and numerous successful ‘Gender Just Climate Solutions’ to demonstrate evidence that climate justice is possible, and encourage Parties to support real, inclusive climate action, instead of promoting false solutions” says Anne Barre of WECF.  

The main outcome of COP27 is the decision to create a Loss & Damage Fund “Small Islands States and other climate-vulnerable countries have least contributed to this climate crisis, which is causing dramatic economic and non-economic losses, with the risk of completely disappearing; this is why civil society movements have repeatedly called for the establishment of a Loss and Damage finance facility. Today we can celebrate an important step forward, but we will remain vigilant on actual financial flows feeding this fund and on the access modalities, that must be tailored to the needs of the people struck by disasters” says Sascha Gabizon of WECF. Another step forward is the operationalization of the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage, established to support developing countries with technical assistance, knowledge and resources. A new advisory board will be set up, and the Women & Gender, Indigenous Peoples’ and Youth Constituencies will have seats on the board.    

“Extremely worrying is the low level of political will for progress on climate mitigation, as COP27 did not make any progress on a commitment to phasing out fossil fuels, while at the same time science keeps alerting us that CO2 emissions continue to rise globally” says Sanne Van de Voort of WECF, “although it is long overdue, only a handful of countries presented their revised national plans (NDCs) in Sharm El Sheikh; in contrast more than 600 fossil fuel and nuclear lobbyists flooded the COP premises, selling their false climate solutions”. According to SPIEGEL, the COP has become a market-place where 20 major oil and gas-deals were signed by climate-killers such as Shell and Equinor.    

Gina Cortés Valderrama, WECF and co-focal point of the WGC says: “still, every day we stood strong together and demonstrated against the lack of finance commitments from the Global North polluter countries to respond to their historical responsibilities. We demonstrated against the colonial discourses on imported development models and risky technofixes such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and ‘net-zero’ offsetting on indigenous lands”. Cortés adds: “This is why civil society movements united in one voice to call for climate justice. They endorsed the COP27 Peoples’ Declaration at the “People’s Plenary”. 

“Regarding gender-justice we are on a sliding downward slope”, says Sascha Gabizon, “the text on the review of the Gender Action Plan of the Paris Agreement was only agreed upon in the last hours of the negotiations, but it does not make significant steps forward. It lacks any substantial proposals to address the gendered impacts of the Covid pandemic – attested by several UN reports -, nor of the war in Ukraine, nor of the resulting surges in food prices and the roll- back of women’s rights globally”. Additionally, “although we worked collectively to ensure a safe and inclusive space for all, we heard multiple voices of women facing racial discrimination, harassment, surveillance and intimidation during their involvement in the COP, starting from the application process, and until their departure” says Cortés Valderrama, “this is really detrimental for building up trust and ensuring the meaningful participation of civil society”.  

The Women and Gender Constituency has uplifted the voices of African feminists at COP27, asserting their power to demand climate-justice – read here the African Women and Girls’ Demands. They stress in particular the need for more Inclusion of women and young people in decision-making processes; a just and equitable transition from fossil fuels for all; the provision of adequate, accessible, and human rights centered finance; land rights; community owned and women-led technological solutions. 

Gina Cortés Valderrama adds: “the way out of the climate crisis, and the intersecting injustices it exacerbates, lies in the eradication of colonial models and structures in all areas of life. There is no level of ambition that will achieve climate justice, if the structural chains of oppression and discrimination are not broken. The latest WECF publication presents evidence how Gender just climate solutions from the Global South, that adopt transformative pathways, can ensure sustainable and autonomous models that redistribute power and enable us to keep the 1.5 alive”.