Celebrating Feminists’ Voices, Inspiring Global Peace



WILPF at COP28: Everything You Need to Know 

Launching on November 30 in Dubai, COP28 presents a crucial entrypoint to draw attention for addressing the intersection of militarism, the climate crisis, and gender issues, particularly in the MENA region. Amidst ongoing conflicts, including the escalating violence in Gaza, the conference provides a unique opportunity for regional feminists to integrate their perspectives into climate action. Notably, COP28 introduces a thematic day focused on “health, relief, recovery, and peace,” offering an unprecedented chance for organisations like WILPF to advocate for feminist peace and demilitarisation, emphasising their crucial role in climate initiatives.

Image credit: WILPF
WILPF International Secretariat
27 November 2023

30 November marks the launch of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), better known as COP28. 

Taking place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), this year’s COP presents a crucial entrypoint to draw attention to the relationship between militarism, the climate crisis and gender issues, with a particular focus on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Occurring alongside continued conflict and instability throughout the MENA region, including the escalating violence in Gaza, COP28 is recognised as a unique chance for regional feminists to incorporate their perspectives and demilitarisation efforts into climate action, to share their distinct challenges and solutions and to demonstrate their vital role in climate initiatives — all issues that are often sidelined within the context of the region.

For the first time, this year’s COP will include a thematic day  on the topics of “health, relief, recovery and peace,” with a goal to explore ways to provide relief to those impacted by the climate crisis and conflict while strengthening resilience and recovery efforts. This provides an unprecedented entrypoint for WILPF to put the topics of feminist peace and demilitarisation on the agenda. 


A WILPF delegation of five feminist peace activists, including three from the MENA region, will be in Dubai to participate in COP28 and advance key advocacy goals focused on the critical role of demilitarisation in addressing the climate crisis and destruction of the environment. Over the next two weeks, the delegation will host panel discussions, engage in meetings, post live updates on social media, and participate in events. 

To ensure feminist peace activists and allies across WILPF’s movement can follow along, we will also host side events at COP, participate in webinarsand have a live campaign where members and supporters can have their voices heard. Watch out for more details as they’re announced!

You can also check out webinars we hosted on the topic of demilitarisation and climate justice in advance of COP28 to facilitate outreach, engagement and awareness raising and in preparation for the conference. 

COP28 advocacy goals 

Recognising that militarism, military activity and conflict are significant drivers of the ecological crisis, WILPF’s work for ecological justice centres on the urgent need for demilitarisation. 

By ending or reducing the scale of military operations and weapons production, governments can significantly decrease carbon emissions and minimise the devastating environmental and humanitarian impacts of these activities. Reallocating military spending to gender-transformative climate action will further free up resources for mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage funding. 

At COP28, the WILPF community aims to:

  • Raise awareness about the importance of demilitarisation and feminist peace for climate justice
  • Coordinate the Peace and Demilitarisation Working Group under the Women and Gender Constituency to build a movement of action and knowledge sharing across different constituencies 
  • Address “peace champion” countries centred on a shared commitment to raising awareness of demilitarisation in the climate space 
  • Establish contact with key diplomats, policymakers and other high-level decision makers to advance ongoing and future advocacy efforts 

Meet WILPF’s delegation members 

WILPF’s COP28 delegation includes five feminist peace activists from around the world. They are:

  • Nesmah Mansoor Ali, founding member of the Peace Track Initiative and Women, Peace and Security expert specialising in peacebuilding and climate justice 
  • Rula Asad, feminist researcher, journalist and co-founder of the Syrian Female Journalists Network 
  • Olla Alsakkaf, Yemeni researcher, climate activist and founder of Peace Environment for Development, WILPF Yemen
  • Katrin Geyer, Environment Advisor at WILPF International Secretariat
  • Michelle Benzing, Environment Consultant with WILPF’s Environment Working Group and member of WILPF Germany and the Young WILPF Network

“With this year’s COP featuring ‘peace’ as an official theme in its agenda, WILPF will continue to centre the urgent need for demilitarisation for climate justice in our advocacy. I am excited to continue the work that we started during last year’s COP and am looking forward to amplifying the experience and expertise from my feminist activist colleagues from the MENA region who will join this year’s WILPF COP delegation.”

Katrin Geyer

“Working on peacebuilding in Yemen, I see firsthand how conflict is exacerbating climate vulnerability in my country. This year I’m joining WIPF’s delegation to advocate for better integration of climate justice into the international peace agenda and to call for demilitarisation as a priority to end the growing climate crisis.”

Nesmah Mansoor

Learn more

For more information about COP28, WILPF’s work on ecological justice and the relationship between militarism and the environment, please check out the following resources. 

Follow along!

No matter how you’re getting involved with COP28, make sure to follow WILPF and join the conversation on Twitter (X)FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn!

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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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