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WILPF and Allies are Pushing for Demilitarisation to be put on the Agenda of Bonn Climate Change Conference

Last week, WILPF co-hosted an official side event on demilitarisation, climate justice and feminist perspectives at the Bonn Climate Change Conference, taking place from 5–15 June. These interim negotiations are preparations for the next climate conference, COP28, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates from 30 November to 12 December 2023.⁠

Image credit: WILPF
WILPF International Secretariat
13 June 2023

The event featured a diverse set of speakers that illuminated various angles of these intersecting issues, from global trends around military spending and military emissions to grassroots testimonies of the compounding impacts of militarisation and the climate crisis.

If you missed the event, you can watch the recording below:

YouTube video

Learn more about this topic and get to know our allies working to bring peace to the agenda of multilateral climate change processes. Here are some resonating quotes 👇

“If we were to combine the world’s militaries, they would be the 4th largest national emitter behind China, the US and India– but without thorough and accurate reporting, there is no accountability for their impact.”

Ellie Kinney, Conflict and Environment Observatory

“If we look at what the world spends money on today, we see little evidence of a real concern for the planet and people most impacted by climate change. This year we had the biggest global spending on the military ever, 2.24 trillion USD. Spending on the military is actively diverting from tackling the climate crisis and supporting those most impacted. There’s [also] little evidence that the military can be greened. There are yet no alternatives to the vast amounts of fuel used by fighter jets, ships and tanks.”

Nick Buxton, Transparency International

“The people of the Mariana Islands are on the frontlines of the climate crisis and are experiencing compounding issues of simultaneously being a major fence line community to the US military. The military currently occupies a third of the island of Guam and the toxic footprint of the military on the island is exhaustive. On Guam alone, there are 100 identified toxic waste sites and unexploded ordnances. These are direct results of the colonial driving engine of the US government.”

Adrien Salazar, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

“A systemic and transformational approach to climate change mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage is needed – one that addresses power inequalities, safeguards women’s rights, and enables women to participate meaningfully, and lead.  Feminist approaches to demilitarization, decarbonization, and climate finance are integral elements of such an approach.”

Dr. Marisa O. Ensor

“Many people and governments tend to forget that the military as such may be a perpetrator as well. Not only are militaries huge emitters, but militarization as a process poses a direct threat to marginalized and oppressed groups and often specifically targets women activists in all their diversity and Indigenous activists.”

Sheena Anderson, Feminist Foreign Policy

“Sudan is in a debt crisis and yet there seems to be more priority towards the military. It’s also a context in which the climate crisis has affected millions over time. The same communities that are facing floods and drought are now also facing war. That is the crisis of Sudan.”

 Ishraq Abdalla, Me and Youth

“Food insecurity, caused by the climate crisis, has affected our communities in Zimbabwe because everyone is now rushing to engage in artisanal gold mining. In some cases, the police and the military are used to come in and “protect” the mining sites. However, communities are resisting: some are monitoring levels of pollution resulting from extractive industries, reporting it to civil society organisations for litigation, while others have resisted eviction for over three years.”

Edwick Madzimure, WILPF Zimbabwe

Want to learn more?

For a deep dive into this topic, speakers have shared key resources which you can find here.

WILPF will continue to raise the issue of demilitarisation at COP28 and beyond. If you want to get involved, please reach out to Katrin Geyer, WILPF Environment Advisor at katrin.geyer (a)

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WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations.

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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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