IWECI Summit Wrap up – Day 3 & 4

by Bronte Hogarth 

Live daily updates from the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit (IWECI) in New York (September 20-23, 2013). Natalie Isaacs, 1MW CEO and Founder is here at the 3-day summit along with 100 woman delegates from all the world to help form a women’s agenda on climate change action.

Day 3 of the IWECI Summit was jam-packed with incredible speakers, including Dr. Sylvia Earle, and not to mention the final panel session chaired by Lorena Aguilar between Mary Robinson, Christina Figueres and Rachel Kyte to end off the massive day and night.

Let’s start at the beginning of the day and ‘the rights of nature’ which were the words on everybody’s lips

Basically, our living planet needs to have rights of its own. This fantastic discussion on the rights of nature was between Shannon Biggs, Patricia Gualinga Montalvo (Sarayaku) and Natalia Greene. Shannon pointed out how climate change is symptom of a strained relationship with nature and how putting a price tag on nature has never worked and will never work in the future. We need to get nature out of the market place, especially in the areas that are people’s homes. “Climate change is real and being experienced by indigenous peoples in their territories… If we don’t put our bodies on the frontline to defend these territories there would be none left” Patricia Gualinga Montalvo (Sarayaku). Ecuador is the first country in the world to recognize the rights of nature in its constitution and an example that it can be done in law. The laws however don’t change overnight and protecting the rights of nature can start from communities first.

“Nature or pachamama has the right to exist, and maintain its natural cycles” Natalia Greene.

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The other big issue of the day was climate-financing strategies for developing countries. A great discussion chaired by Linda Schalatek between Laurie Williams, Noelene Nabulivou, Janet Redman and Lindy Nacpil. Climate financing needs to be more democratic said Linda, and developed countries have a funding obligation to developing countries. “If the money is not getting to the women on the ground then it is not climate financing” Noelene Nabulivou.

“95% of climate funding around the world goes to mitigation and only 5% to adaptation.” Linda Schalatek.

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Lindy Nacpil also spoke of the injustice that those least responsible will feel the burdens of climate change the most. Big countries must help to provide the finance to developing ones, as we all need to make reductions. Climate change will not be averted with reductions by big countries alone. This is a shared challenge but financial help is needed to help developing countries arrive at the challenge. Strategies being put in place are the Clean Climate Fund, the first fund with a mandate and others like the Green Climate Fund by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change ideas both designed to channel money from developed to developing nations to deal with the impacts of climate change.

We had to break at some point, as this was already a lot of information for anyone to process.

So we processed, and then returned for the night session, which kicked of with an inspiring presentation by Dr. Sylvia Earle, a woman who has spent more time in the ocean than any other woman. 97% of our world is ocean, but the fact is that it has been neglected greatly. She called for the need to explore and invest in the blue heart of our planet and the millions of little guys in the water. She spoke of the resilience of nature, but we need to give it a chance, and “take care of the oceans like our lives depend on it, because they do.”

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Income the final panel discussion of the night with big players like Mary Robinson, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice, and former president of Ireland, Christiana Figueres Executive Secretary UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and Rachel Kyte Vice President of Sustainable Development, World Bank. The discussion was about bringing ideas to implementation and the results. Moderater Lorena Aguilar, Senior Advisor on Gender, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, lead the panel to discuss their own climate change journeys, how they got to where they are today and their motivations. A common thread among them all was human rights and a concern for future generations.

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Mary Robinson commented about the need for climate justice, and that “Justice starts with the injustice that the least responsible are the worst effected.”

Rachel Kyte said money is not the problem in this movement, there is plenty around, but we need to take capital in the direction of a sustainable future and see it is being directed to the places where it’s most needed. “We need to paint a picture of tomorrow being better.”
If the words of the day were ‘the rights of nature’ then the word of the night was ‘ferocious’. The panel highlighted what the climate movement has is ferocity, which needs to be channeled.

On the point of ferocity Christina Figueres said “there is a sleeping giant on climate which needs to be woken up. Women have lead movements before but the movement as a whole has not taken this as the battle of the century that it is”.

The IWECI Summit was certainly the start of something bigger, and hopefully will be part in awakening this sleeping giant.

After a full on Day 3, Day 4 of the summit, the closing day, was more focused on the delegates putting their heads together to come up with real ideas and actions that could be implemented around the world. These have been formed into a Women’s Climate Action Agenda and will be put out by the IWECI.

The summit was closed with a water ceremony led by Casey Camp-Horinek, an incredibly special way to close nearly 4 days of discussions and give back spiritually to mother earth and the land we had all inhabited during the Summit. This ceremony is an experience 1MW Founder Nat and myself will never forget.

1 Million Women are so grateful to have been part of this inspiring international summit. We would like to give a BIG thank you to the organisers Sally Ranney and Osprey Orielle Lake for making it happen, and to all the incredible women who attended, who shared their stories and who helped form the women’s agenda on climate change to take to the world.

Thanks a million.

We are daughters, mothers, sisters and grandmothers getting on with practical climate action to live better for us and the planet. Join the movement at www.1millionwomen.com.au