A Voice for Women at the UN Climate Leadership Summit: WECAN Members Attend Crucial International Assembly

Top international politicians, scientists, businesspeople, and civil society activists gather today in New York City for the 2014 United Nation Climate Leadership Summit. Convened by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as a platform for world leaders to present and generate support for climate action proposals, the Summit is widely regarded as a critical ‘make it or break it’ moment in international environmental policy.

Recognizing that the Summit represents a crucial tipping point, and that both political and grassroots efforts are needed for meaningful action, activists of many backgrounds and visions have united to mobilize and insure that UN leaders understand the imperative for immediate action. 400,000 people marched on the streets on New York Sunday and thousands held a sit-in the next day near Wall Street to let world leaders know people want climate justice and they want action now.

After a week at the forefront of on-the-ground civil society actions surrounding the Summit, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International) will also be participating in the formal UN Summit beginning today.

Photo by Lori Waselchuk, 2013

Photo by Lori Waselchuk.

Selected as part of a small civil society delegation, WECAN International leaders Kandi Mossett, Fadoua Brour, Osprey Orielle Lake and Sally Ranney will attend the United Nations Climate Leadership Summit, strengthening the presence of women and front line communities, and drawing attention to women’s simultaneous climate vulnerability and unparalleled resiliency and leadership. During a time of political inaction, apathy, and neglect of climate issues, women, Indigenous and frontline leaders will be an unrelenting voice for the deeply intertwined issue of social and ecologic justice.

Kandi Mossett currently works as the Native Energy & Climate Campaign Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and serves on the WECAN International advisory board. Deriving her heritage from the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara peoples of what is now the Northern United States, Kandi has witnessed first-hand the impacts of the fossil fuel economy on indigenous peoples of the region. Ms. Mossett began her work with the IEN in 2007, working primarily with tribal youth to engage them climate justice initiatives, connect them to green job opportunities, and bridge the inter-generational knowledge gap between indigenous youth and the elders who possess skills and world views from a time of greater harmony between man and nature. Her local work is complemented by international advocacy work, including participation in several UN Fora, aimed at bringing visibility to the diverse social and ecologic justice movements blooming in indigenous communities throughout North America.

Fadoua Brour is a climate activist from Morocco working as WECAN Internationals Regional Coordinator in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region, in addition to roles as President/Founder of the Moroccan Youth Climate Movement and National Director of the Arab Youth Climate Movement. Fadoua has been at the forefront of groundbreaking initiatives to mobilize MENA region youth and women around the climate issue, leading caravans, media campaigns, workshops, and trainings. One of her central goals has been catalyzing critical discussion and leadership amongst the regions women who are already directly experiencing the effects of climate change, including desertification, erosion, and water scarcity. Under her leadership WECAN completed its first MENA Region Climate Solutions Training this past June.

Sally Ranney is Co-Founder of WECAN International and Founder/ President of eraGlobal Alliance, with 30 years of professional experience in land, water, energy, sustainability, and biodiversity policy. Currently President of the American Renewable Energy Institute (AREI), Sally served as Co-Director of the Institute’s AREDAY Summit for three years. She is CEO of Stillwater Preservation LLC, a wetlands- mitigation banking company and serves as an Advisor to P4P Energy, an innovative solar energy company. A former Resource Policy Analyst for The Wilderness Society, Sally has served on the President’s Commission on American Outdoors, the Clinton transition team, and created a youth conservation corps.

Osprey Orielle Lake is an author, activist, and co-Founder and Executive Director of WECAN International, working nationally and internationally to build resilient communities, move towards a post-carbon future, and address issues of societal transformation. She oversees and serves as an instructor for WECAN’s international climate trainings and directs WECAN’s advocacy work in areas such as Women for Forests, Rights of Nature, and UN Forums. She has additionally served on the board of the Praxis Peace Institute and on the Steering Committee for The UN Women’s Major Group for the Rio+20 Earth Summit. Her book, Uprising for the Earth: Reconnecting Culture with Nature, details the myriad of factors contributing to our current climate crisis, while also mapping out a strategy with which to overcome it.

In addition to participation in forum panels and roundtable discussions, Lake and Brour will hand deliver copies of the newly released Women’s Climate Action Agenda to international leaders. This 70 plus page document provides analysis of the root causes of the dual environmental degradation and social injustice we face today, presenting alternative visions and concrete suggestions for action. You can download the full Women’s Climate Action Agenda at: wecaninternational.org/pages/womens-climate-action-agenda-2014

Please visit our blog again next week for post-Summit reflections from WECAN International attendees.

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Blog by Emily Arasim, WECAN International Special Projects & Communication Coordinator

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