WILPF Advocacy Documents

WILPF Statement on Climate Security

24 November 2008
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On Climate Security

WILPF Statement issued by the International Board
24 November 2008

WILPF recognizes climate change as one of the most urgent security challenges of our time.  Predictions of future climate impacts vary from disruptive to catastrophic natural disasters, hunger, drought, widespread displacement, conflict, and suffering.

Narrow military notions of security can do nothing to alleviate these challenges. Bombs, guns, and landmines will not prevent or stop a tsunami, a hurricane, a flood, a virus, or a water shortage.  Instead, the acquisition of arms and current global military expenditure of 1.3 trillion dollars per year diverts enormous financial, technical, and human resources from where they are needed.

Proven and clean energy technologies are ready to be implemented now in developing and developed countries. Stopping the use of non-renewable, polluting energy sources through investment in renewable resources and technologies will have a beneficial impact.  Public transport, refitting homes, recycling, and buying locally-produced products will also help, but these measures must be accompanied by government-wide behavioural and policy changes.

Rich and poor countries do not emit the same amount of carbon and have different responsibilities to address climate change.  The richest 28% burn 80% of fossil fuels, producing 80% of the greenhouse gas. Western countries generate 16 times more greenhouse gas per person than developing countries.

Women comprise the majority of the world’s poor, therefore climate change will impact women disproportionately. Due to present societal structures, women are not equally participating in decision-making on climate adaptation and mitigation strategies.  Ironically, surveys show that women are more concerned than men about climate change, want more far-reaching changes and are more willing to alter their behaviour and lifestyle. Therefore, participation of women and a gender perspective must be included in the international climate change negotiation process and in developing climate policies at regional, national, and local levels.

WILPF urges that all national and global policies incorporate gender aspects of climate change, guided by the many global agreements on gender mainstreaming and human rights treaties such as the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).  This will require improved international environmental governance structures, cohesion between UN agencies, as well as tools such as gender-specific indicators to guide national reporting to the UN Framework convention on Climate Change.

Governments should be encouraged to mainstream gender perspectives into their national policies, action plans, and other measures on sustainable development and climate change. This can be done by carrying out systematic gender analysis, collecting and utilizing sex-disaggregated data, establishing gender-sensitive indicators and benchmarks, and developing practical tools to support increased attention to gender perspectives. Governments should invest in research on patterns of gender-specific use of resources and consumption; gender-specific effects on climate change; gender aspects of mitigation and adaptation; women’s capacity to cope with climate change; and gender-related vulnerability.

When preparing contributions to the post-2012 climate protection system, which must be established in order to succeed the commitments of the Kyoto Protocol, governments should request input from relevant international bodies. These should include the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the UN Division for the Advancement of Women, the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), and women’s organisations and networks, as well as gender experts.  Due to the disparate effects of climate change on men and women, preparation of future commitments and mechanisms should be based on and fully integrate gender analysis.

In this regard, the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation’s contribution as a technical UN agency is crucial, because of the excellent analysis and research of its Gender, Equity and Rural Employment division.

The world is in an ecological, carbon, and radiation debt.  We already have internationally agreed commitments, which as a start, should be transformed into reality. Climate change means change; but business as usual is not an option, in fact, it’s suicidal.

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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