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Feminists, grassroots women slam world leaders’ betrayal at COP26

As the 26th session of the Conference of Parties (COP26) to the UN United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Glasgow comes to a close, members and partners of Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) reiterate their rejection to false climate solutions reflected in the COP26 outcomes that further burden grassroots women and perpetuate plunder of resources of global south countries.

APWLD member and executive director of Aksi! for gender, social and ecological justice in Indonesia Titi Soentoro detests that the COP26 has failed to address roots of climate injustices raised by activists and environmentalists both in Glasgow and in virtual platforms during the two-week run of the conference.

“The COP26 has essentially served as a platform for developed countries to skirt responsibility by diverting public attention from irreversible environmental and social impacts to false solutions that perpetuate capitalist drive for profit,” Titi says.

According to Titi, the push for net zero emissions instead of ‘real zero’ is nothing but a  decorative cover for unrestricted emissions.

“The current proposed net zero pledges are not grounded in deep decarbonisation, and instead rely on other false solutions including nature-based solutions (NBS) as sinks, to sequester the carbon emissions; as well as on carbon-markets to deliver carbon offsets in developing countries. We also demand for a complete phase out of fossil fuels,” Titi explains.

An indigenous woman and APWLD Climate Justice Feminist Participatory Action Research (CJ FPAR) partner, Delima Silalahi of Kelompok Studi dan Pengembangan Prakarsa Masyarakat (KSPPM) of Indonesia adds that it is critical for rural and indigenous women on the ground to really understand these false climate solutions and the impacts to their lives and survival.

“The outcome of the negotiation on market mechanism is a huge threat for indigenous communities in Asia and the Pacific. World leaders are not even brave enough to commit to the protection of human rights along with the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of Indigenous Peoples. Above all, a market-based mechanism is never a true climate solution. It is a dirty business tactic, putting profits over peoples,” Delima notes.

“We reject false climate solutions. We want just and equitable transition. The market mechanism, especially carbon trading, will aggressively violate Indigenous Peoples’ rights to land and forest in the name of battling climate catastrophe. It is a massive land grabbing plot threatening our survival. It is a matter of life and death for us in the community,” she adds.

Meanwhile, APWLD member Ana Celestial of Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) in the Philippines underscores the importance of continuing the fight for climate justice and demanding accountability for the climate crisis.

“Feminists, activists, and environmental and land rights defenders are either killed, criminalised, or subjected to various forms of harassment for protecting mother earth. Their perpetrators, the authoritarian governments and massive foreign corporations, continue to plunder our lands and natural resources, yet get off scot-free. Worse, these are the same people who are among the most powerful dominating the global climate negotiations now, including the recently concluded COP26.” Ana says.

Ana adds that the failure of member countries to walk out of COP26 with real commitments on financing for loss and damage is outrageous especially amid increasing climate-induced natural disasters that have devastated many developing countries including the Philippines. 

She explains that it is critical to continue demanding more financing from the developed and capitalist countries to deliver their promise of USD 100 billion a year and additional public climate finance based on the needs of the affected communities. 

“Our fight for climate justice continues even after COP26 wraps up. We will continue to fight for the protection of our human rights, consistently calling out the wealthy countries and corporations to stop lying and to pay for their historical and ongoing responsibilities inside these negotiation chambers and on the streets. We will never stop mobilising and demanding accountability from developed countries and our own governments,” Ana concludes.

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