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A Renewed Imperative for Climate Action by 2030

The urgency for climate action is now more paramount than ever.

Image credit: WILPF
Dawn Nelson
3 December 2018

The urgency for climate action is now more paramount than ever.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report, released in early October this year, has rung the alarm bell once again. The moral imperative for deep cuts in carbon emissions as swiftly as possible in the next twelve years has made it increasingly clear we need to implement renewable energy policies immediately.

COP24, the opportunity to ensure States’ commitments to environmental changes

On 3-14 December 2018, the Katowice Conference on Climate Change (COP24) will take place in Poland and will focus on implementing the Paris Agreement by adopting guidelines for governments to meet their commitments to reduce carbon emissions. Governments are required to report regularly on their emissions reduction efforts and present their progress at the annual Conference of the Parties under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030, as indicated in the IPCC Report, will require nothing less than full commitment from all nations.

In the USA, the recently released 4th National Climate Assessment combined with the dire warnings in the October IPCC Report equips climate leaders to take effective and bold action—but without adequate federal level leadership, the odds are daunting. Many nations face similar challenges, and WILPF stands poised to strengthen transnational grassroots allies.

Coming opportunities in 2019 for climate advocacy

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development now becomes more symbolic than we realised. It is much more than just a symbol, however. The 2030 Agenda encompasses four core components: The Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Of these, only the Paris Agreement is legally binding. These components lend mutual support to the overarching framework of the 2030 Agenda, and we are fortunate to have this framework in place. Not only do we have immediate opportunity for climate advocacy in Katowice, but we will also have several more opportunities in 2019, including during the UN General Assembly and High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

The SDGs present unique opportunities for civil society to engage in regional and national policy decision-making. For instance, meeting the targets for SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production and for SDG 7 on energy will help bring governments into alignment with their commitments to the Paris Agreement. There will be several roundtable discussions on SDGs in Katowice, bringing together a more coherent discussion on SDGs and the environment. I am grateful for the participation of WILPF at COP24 with a delegate from WILPF Italy, Giovanna Pagani, who will attend various sessions and share with us her perspectives on the ground.

There is now a stronger vision for the year 2030. Drawing on the annual SDG reports at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, combined with the more powerful mechanism to hold governments to account through the legally binding Paris Agreement, present multiple opportunities for civil society to engage in the global policy arena and advocate for action on climate change. We look forward to integrating what we learn from COP24 into future activities of the WILPF Environment Working Group.

By Dawn Nelson, WILPF-US & WILPF Environment Working Group

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Dawn Nelson

Dawn Nelson is a member of WILPF Environment Working Group.

Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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