WOMEN’S MAJOR GROUP WEBINAR: Feminist Demand: SDG 13 (Climate Action) & SDG 16 (Peace)

"Peace is not a one-off project.” 

- Abigail Ruane, WILPF’s Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Programme Director and WMG Global Organizing Partner 

On 2 July 2019, in preparation for the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), the Women’s Major Group (WMG) hosted a webinar entitled "Feminist Demand: SDG 13 (Climate Action) & SDG 16 (Peace)," Building on the WMG 2019 Position Paper, the webinar provided a space for activists to come together, take stock of where we are, build our feminist vision and identify our priorities for action at HLPF. Abigail Ruane, WILPF’s Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Programme Director and WMG Global Organizing Partner, led a panel discussion with Amab Hudhud, Palestine, and Bridget Burns, WEDO-USA. (Beatrice Ano Muyang, WILPF-Cameroon, and and Tetet Lauron, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation-Philippines, were invited to speak but were unable to participate due to technical difficulties.) 

Bridget Burns, Director of WEDO-USA, stressed that, though some Member States are quick to celebrate progress on climate change, there is much more to be done. Burns focused on capacity-building to catalyse and maintain genuine shifts in power, by increasing climate financing for genuine solutions, improving access to education for climate resilience (“...for every additional year of schooling a girl receives on average, her country’s resilience to climate disaster can be expected to improve 3.2 points on a country vulnerability scale...”), demilitarising and ending fossil fuel subsidies and procuring and delivering adequate compensation for loss and damage. 

Amab Hudhud, Palestinian activist, underscored the need to strengthen the capacity of local women and support local women’s initiatives while “collecting [these] efforts under one umbrella... and unified vision.” In Palestine, where many women support their families as the primary source of income, Hudhud called for the creation of a database to document and track the progress of local women’s initiatives to strengthen coordination and solidarity. 

On behalf of Beatrice Ano Muyang, WILPF-Cameroon, Abigail Ruane shared insight into the Cameroon situation. Ruane emphasised that conflict stalls progress towards the sustainable development goals, stressing that “... when we’re working on action for peace that actually addresses women’s lives... we have to put gender equality at the centre.” Where implementation of SDG 16 is gender-unaware and inconsistent, Ruane stressed that the international community will continue to miss the structural obstacles (including arms transfers and illicit financial flows) that ultimately hinder the progress of peace. To tackle this issue, Ruane echoed Hudhud’s call to support local women’s peace work and campaigns (like #Women-Lead and #MoveTheMoney) and stressed the importance of strengthening policy coherence. 

The Webinar closed with a vibrant Q&A, in which activists coordinated advocacy efforts and shared information surrounding feminist happenings at HLPF.