Women’s organizations are mobilizing at Sino de Vale, Brazil, to prepare for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), and aiming to develop a common voice that will help expand the role of women in sustainable development. Read the full statement below.
A NEW WOMEN’S MOVEMENT FOR RIO+20
UN Conference on Sustainable Development Sees
New Collaborations by Global Women
RIO DE JANEIRO…The first United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, known as the Eco ’92 Earth Summit, was held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992 and was the first-ever international meeting of 178 countries on sustainable development. The conference led to an agreement on the Climate Change Convention which, in turn, produced the Kyoto Protocol. Significantly, Eco’ 92 also marked the first time that world leaders and governments considered the essential role of women in addressing global sustainability challenges and included gender-sensitive language in official documents.
The powerful women’s movement at Eco ‘92 that crafted a gender perspective into sustainable development was spearheaded by New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug, Nobel Prize-winner Wangari Maathai, Indian environmental feminist Vandana Shiva and the Brazilian social entrepreneur and leadership educator Thais Corral and many others. These women created a communal meeting space, called the Planeta Fêmea, or Feminine Planet, where on each day of the conference texts, interventions and strategies were shared and analyzed and a collective women’s voice was formed.
Twenty years later, a new women’s community is taking shape at Sinal do Vale, a social enterprise and retreat center in a valley close to Rio operated by Corral who is also the founder of REDEH, the Center for Human Development and CEMINA (Communications, Education and Adaptation). The Global Women Scholars Network, an international group of scholars and practitioners studying and working on issues related to sustainable development, worked with Corral to gather diverse groups at Sinal do Vale for Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held in Rio de Janeiro from 20-22 June 2012. They include the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Aspen International Mountain Foundation, Climate Wise Women, ENERGIA, the International Women’s Rights Project, the Mountain Partnership, USAID, the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), and scholars from additional universities, including Northwestern University, University of Wollongong (Australia), Colegio de Postgraduados (Mexico), and Modul University (Austria).
Participating organizations will be involved in a heavy slate of activities in Rio from 14 June through 24 June, presenting discussions and workshops on a broad range of issues at the official site of the Rio+20, RioCentro, as well as in other venues across the city. On 16 June, GWSN and other groups staying at the retreat center will host an all day event at Sinal do Vale, open to the broader conference community, titled Women Networking for Sustainability: Celebrating the Past & Envisioning the Future.
“Having such an amazing group of like-minded people in one place will be a once in a lifetime opportunity,” says Alice Madden, GWSN organizer and holder of the Timothy E. Wirth Chair in Sustainable Development at the University of Colorado Denver. “The networks and ideas that come out of this retreat center will lead to long-term collaboration and will help all of the groups involved work toward expanding the role of women in sustainable development.”
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE, “Triple A-S” (AAAS), is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association. In addition to organizing membership activities, AAAS publishes the journal Science, as well as many scientific newsletters, books and reports, and spearheads programmes that raise the bar of understanding for science worldwide.
The ASPEN INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN FOUNDATION (AIMF) is a Colorado nonprofit corporation dedicated to promoting sustainable development in the world’s mountain communities. Formally organized in 2001 in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, AIMF evolved from a decade of working collaboratively with the United Nations’ Environment Program (UNEP), the City of Aspen, the Aspen Institute, Aspen Sister Cities, and other public and private organizations that produced a series of international conferences focusing on issues facing mountain communities. In 2010, AIMF became a member of the United Nations’ Mountain Partnership – a voluntary alliance of almost 200 international members, including 50 countries, committed to working together with the common goal of improving the lives of mountain people and protecting mountain environments around the world.
CLIMATE WISE WOMEN is a global platform for the promotion of women’s leadership on climate change. Through powerful personal narratives, Climate Wise Women gives a human face and voice to an issue that sits squarely at the nexus of the conversation on gender equality, environmental justice, food security, the eradication of extreme poverty, and public health.
The Climate Wise Women, a rotating group of distinguished international community activists, share their compelling stories to make the critical connections between the developed and developing worlds. Climate Wise Women is a founding partner of the GWSN.
The ENERGIA International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy was launched in 1995 as a network of committed individuals and organizations working on gender mainstreaming in energy policies and activities. ENERGIA is hosted by the ETC Foundation and connects over 8,000 development practitioners across the world, with an active presence in 22 countries in Africa and Asia. ENERGIA’s approach is innovative because it integrates an emphasis on social equity and women’s rights with a very practical focus on energy technology – an area that has been traditionally male-dominated and gender-blind. ENERGIA is a member of the Women’s Major Group.
GWSN (GLOBAL WOMEN SCHOLARS NETWORK) is an international group of scholars and practitioners studying and working on issues related to sustainable development. Its goal is to increase women in working in the sciences related to sustainability by generating collaborative research on environmental sustainability that not only provide a gender perspective for sustainability issues, but also create a supportive network of women scholars. To accomplish its goal, GWSN will mentor underrepresented women and women from developing countries who are studying environmental sustainability and climate change. In addition to its work in Rio, GWSN will host four international workshops on relevant topics over the next five years.
The INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S RIGHTS PROJECT (IWRP) was founded in 1998 to strengthen the capacity of women’s NGOs in Canada and internationally. IWRP works to influence the implementation of international human rights standards through collaboration, participatory research and evidence-based advocacy. The IWRP model is to work in partnership with civil society organizations, research institutions, donors, universities, and individuals to provide research, capacity-building, and an exchange of knowledge and learning.
THE MOUNTAIN PARTNERSHIP is a United Nations voluntary alliance of partners dedicated to improving the lives of mountain people and protecting mountain environments around the world. The Mountain Partnership addresses the challenges facing mountain regions by tapping the wealth and diversity of resources, knowledge, information and expertise, from and between one another, in order to stimulate concrete initiatives at all levels that will ensure improved quality of life and environments in the world’s mountain regions. Currently, 50 countries, 16 intergovernmental organizations and 130 Major Groups (e.g. civil society, NGOs and the private sector) are members .
REDEH (REDE DE DESENVOLVIMENTO HUMANO) works to defend diversity and promote human development and equality among gender, race, and ethnicity; equitable and sustainable development; the protection and conservation of the environment; and the promotion of cultural diversity. REDEH supports the leadership of women and other social actors (youth, communities and academics) in the decision-making process and implementation of public policy on women, blacks, youth and other underrepresented populations.
USAID (UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT). The American people, through USAID, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for over 50 years. USAID is leading implementation of Feed the Future, the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative. USAID will collaborate with GWSN in the organization of an interactive panel discussion on “Women and Natural Resource Management” on 22 June at the U.S. Center. This session will highlight the support of USAID, the NGO community and academia in recognizing the importance of gender equality in achieving food security and health through the management of fisheries and forests throughout the world.
WEDO (WOMEN’S ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION), a women’s global advocacy organization founded in 1991 to influence the 1992 Earth Summit, envisions a just world that promotes and protects human rights, gender equality and the integrity of the environment. Working with a wide range of partners and stakeholders, from local to government level, WEDO’s mission is to ensure that women’s rights; social, economic and environmental justice; and sustainable development principles – as well as the linkages between them – are at the heart of global and national policies, programs and practices. WEDO is a member of the Women’s Major Group.
Link to Article: http://www.un-ngls.org/spip.php?page=arioplus20&id_article=3889