(Ottawa, ON): The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) will have a strong presence at COP25, the 25th UN Climate Change Conference, which is designed to take the next steps in the climate change process, in advance of full operationalization of the Paris Climate Change Agreement in 2020. Among the focus areas up for discussion are Indigenous peoples and gender.
“NWAC’s presence at COP25 is crucial. We have been, and continue to be, very engaged in climate action at both the domestic and international levels, as well as advancing gender balance and ensuring the voices of Indigenous women are heard in international discussions on climate change,” says President Lorraine Whitman.
On the domestic front, NWAC conducts research and provides policy papers to the federal government on matters related to renewable energies and the need for increased representation of Indigenous women in low-carbon economic sectors. “We have been advocating for a number of environment-related issues, including the need to regulate toxic substances, which have cumulative effects on Indigenous women and children,” says Lynne Groulx, NWAC CEO.
To enhance its input on environmental files, NWAC is developing a low-carbon toolkit for Indigenous women who want to start or grow businesses that contribute to climate change mitigation and/or adaptation.
NWAC is also making a strong, visible presence internationally — participating in meetings held under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Through these international forums, NWAC advocates for the rights and interests of Indigenous women as they relate to the environment in general and climate change in particular.
As an example, by contributing to the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform, NWAC is able to advance gender balance and ensure the voices of Indigenous women are heard in international discussions on climate change.
“Climate change affects all humankind. When taking action to address this important issue, the respective obligations on the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities must be respected, promoted and considered. After all, Indigenous people are stewards of the land, and Indigenous women are the life-givers and caretakers of all life,” says President Whitman. “We look forward to contributing to the dialogue at COP25.”
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