Gender and Climate Change Activities @ COP25 - Madrid 2019

The 25th UN Climate Change Conference, COP25, took place from December 2nd to 15th in Madrid, Spain under Chilean presidency, after its cancellation in Santiago, Chile.

GenderCC attended both weeks of the conference with a delegation of 27 gender and climate advocates and members. As part of the Women and Gender Constituency we followed the negotiations and hosted and attended several side events and workshops, advocating for a strong and gender-responsive outcome of COP25.

Read the official statement of the Women and Gender Constituency below.

Final statement of the Women and Gender Constituency

The COP25 climate talks concluded in the late afternoon on Sunday - almost two days after its scheduled end time. Civil society watched as Parties attempted to water down commitments to action and ambition in the Paris Agreement, thrust responsibility for loss and damage onto those countries suffering first and worst, and push through market mechanisms with bad rules - rules that would violate human rights and fail to protect environmental sustainability.

We witnessed many polluting countries, with the United States in the lead, refusing to own up and pay up for their historical responsibility in creating a climate emergency. While in the final hour, some decisions were made, including a weak decision on loss and damage, we find it particularly duplicitous that a country like the U.S., who has indicated its intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, is still asserting itself to weaken climate action.

For this Constituency, one of the strongest outcomes of COP25 was the adoption of the 5-year Gender Action Plan. We commend Parties for pushing for a robust outcome here, highlighting the critical importance of gender equality in climate action.

No decision was concluded on Article 6, which we applaud, as “we cannot allow any decision on Article 6 to go forward that would infringe on rights and ultimately not advance the goals of the Convention. Nor do we believe that markets are the solution to the climate crisis.

In a strong show of solidarity - and understanding of real climate solutions - indigenous peoples, feminists, workers, youth and activists everywhere gave closing statements at the final hour on Sunday, demanding ‘People Power, Climate Justice!’The WGC was clear in its demand for justice:

“At this COP we saw unprecedented resistance of Parties against acknowledging the interconnections of human rights with every aspect of the negotiations. Everytime you undermine human rights you undermine gender equality. Everytime an environmental defender is threatened, raped, disappeared, or murdered, the violator is you. Your commitments to patriarchy, capitalism, militarism, colonialism, racism, and ecocide are the only ones you have made and which you support with real finance.

Until these systems of oppression are dismantled, which lock out peaceful protesters and communities, including indigenous peoples and women, from real participation and decision-making, until the root causes of this climate catastrophe are reckoned with, we will be here. You will hear our voices raised in solidarity, you will see our bodies in the halls and on the streets and on the frontlines. You took the COP away from the people of Chile and Latin America, but you cannot silence us. You cannot silence the people. You cannot silence women, nor indigenous peoples, nor migrants, nor workers, nor peasants, nor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, gender-nonconforming, queer, intersex, and two-spirit people. You cannot silence people of color, nor people living with disabilities, nor the elders, and not the youth. You cannot silence our rallying cry for justice. People power - climate justice!”

GenderCC Activities in Madrid


Social Movement

  • On December 6th, 500.000 civil society activists came together in Madrid for a peaceful climate march. GenderCC joined the feminist block,
    which was led by inspiring ecofeminists, indigenous feminists, queer feminists and feminists from the global south.
  • On December 11th, over 200 activists (amongst them partners of GenderCC and the Women and Gender Constituency, indigenous peoples, youth, trade unions and other climate activists) assembled at the conference venue in a peaceful protest to call for more ambition in the current climate negations. This concerned especially the renewal of the Gender Action Plan
    and the negotiations around Article 6. The protest was met with excessive force by the security and highlighted the great discrepancy between the people’s demands and governments’ willingness to act. Read the full statement on the protest here!
  • At the People’s closing plenary on December 14th in Madrid, Isadora Cardoso delivered a powerful statement on behalf of the Women and Gender Constituency, calling out parties for failing to deliver a strong incorporation of human rights during the negotiations.

Other Events

  • On December 5th, GenderCC hosted an event at the Brazil Climate Hub to discuss the Regional Agreement on Access to Information Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (Escazu Agreement) from an intersectional and human rights perspective.
  • Later, on the same day, our project coordinator Isadora Cardoso spoke at the side event “Translating Policy into Action: the role of young women of the Global South for Climate Justice”. The event was organized by EmpoderaClima / Care About Climate.  Together with other young women, Isadora spoke about solutions to advance gender equality in climate action.
  • On December 10th it was Gender Day at the conference. GenderCC was present at several events throughout the day:
  • Dorah Marema of GenderCC Southern Africa, spoke at the side event “Women Leadership in Climate Action”. Dorah talked about  how in particular women and girls are struggling with the water crisis in South Africa.
  • Isadora Cardoso spoke at an event in the Green Zone, titled "Derechos Humanos y cambio climático", organized by La Casa Encendida from Spain.
  • Gotelind Alber of GenderCC spoke at the NDC Pavillon at the side event “NDC Enhancement from a Civil Society Perspective”. Gotelind focused on the linkages between gender and climate politics in NDCs and the urgent need for gender-responsive policies and programs.