For Immediate Release
April 22. NYC. Earth Day. Rally for People and the Planet.
On the occasion of the historic signing of the Paris Climate Agreement at the United Nations Headquarters in NYC, join the Women’s Global Call for Climate Justice alongside women and girls from around the world- frontline communities, indigenous peoples, environmental defenders and human rights activists- to demand climate justice!
NEW YORK, NY - This Earth Day, Friday, April 22, 2016, leaders from over 160 countries will converge in New York City for the historic signing of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change; adopted in December of 2015 at COP21.
As leaders meet, so will people mark this moment to call for real action and justice, understanding that while the agreement in Paris may represent a starting point for collective action-- the terms are unclear & unjust, the ambition is too low, and the rights of people and the planet have not been secured. People, namely indigenous peoples and local communities, and women in particular, are both “at the frontlines of crisis and the frontlines of change.” (Maria Alejandra Rodriguez Acha) In the short months since Paris when the agreement was adopted, too many environmental defenders have lost their lives fighting to keep the promise of a sustainable world. We will honor them.
We will rally on Earth Day with a message to world leaders, “Our movements are rising, unafraid to speak truth to power, and unwavering in our campaign for climate justice. This is where you can find hope that COP21 and the Paris Agreement will be the turning point for a more just and sustainable world, as we are more determined than ever to push world leaders to keep their promises. We will never give up on our beautiful planet.” (Bridget Burns, WEDO)
When & Where: Friday April 22nd, 12:00 - 2:00 PM; Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, NYC (47th St. between 1st & 2nd Ave.) See Facebook event for further details.
Who: Advocates, activists and indigenous women leaders; hosted by the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) and the Women’s Global Call for Climate Justice, in partnership with, If Not Us Then Who, Human Rights Watch, Feminist Task Force & many others.
What: Rally with a line-up of amazing activists and speakers, see provisional list below, including time to honor recent human rights and environmental defenders who have lost their lives; and solidarity statements for partners around the world facing the impacts of climate change. Participants will have signs and visuals, and participate in chants, focused on people and the planet as the beating heart of global action on climate change-- and the need to uphold human rights, including gender equality and women’s human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, intergenerational equity, a just transition to decent work for all, the integrity of natural ecosystems and food security.
Rally Speakers (more bios provided on-site):
Mina Susana Setra (Indonesia) -- Mina is an indigenous Dayak Pompakng from West Kalimantan, Indonesia. The Dayak Pompakng have traditionally depended on the forests as a source of food, as well as for natural saps and medicines used to hunt, heal, hunt and fish. Wood from the forest once provided spearheads, chopsticks, wood carvings for storytelling, and construction materials for their longhouses. Their intricate and sophisticated forms of forest management are interwoven with a complex system of beliefs and values. Unfortunately, the forests where Mina once lived have been converted into palm oil plantations. Mina has worked on indigenous, environment, and climate policy at the Indonesia’s Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) since it was founded in 1999 and is AMAN’s Deputy Secretary General. AMAN links 17 million people managing community forests and lands. In 2012, she and others won a major constitutional court case, recognizing indigenous peoples’ customary rights over Indonesia’s forests.
Diana Rios (Peru)-- Diana is an indigenous Asheninka activist from the Amazon village of Saweto, Peru. Illegal loggers killed her father, Jorge Rios, in September 2014, together with activist Edwin Chota and two other community leaders. Since then, Diana has been struggling to help her community and surrounding villages secure their land rights. After more than a decade of struggle, Diana’s community received title to more than 80,000 hectares of forest last year. Diana continues to fight to protect her forest, in the face of ongoing intimidation and threats from illegal loggers and other vested interests. She has traveled around the world to highlight the threats faced by community activists and the importance of community forest rights in the battle against climate change.
Priscilla Achakpa (Nigeria) -- As executive director of the Women Environmental Programme, Priscilla has introduced thousands of women to sustainable solutions to everyday problems, such as waste-to-energy machines that can process rice husks. In Nigeria, Priscilla says, “The impact of climate change on women is huge. The men are forced to migrate and they leave the women, who are now the caregivers because they find they cannot leave the children . . . We don’t want a top-down solution” to climate change, says Priscilla. “We want bottom-up. But we need to be at the table.”
Bernadette Ellorin (USA)-- currently serving as Chairperson of BAYAN USA, an alliance of 20 Filipino grassroots organizations in the U.S. representing youth, students, women, workers, cultural workers, and human rights advocates working for social and economic justice. As the oldest and largest overseas chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S.
Bridget Burns (USA)- Co-Director of the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), Bridget is an advocate and feminist activist working on the intersections of human rights, gender equality and climate justice. WEDO is a 25 year old women’s global advocacy organization working to amplify women’s political voice and power to create a peaceful and healthy planet.
Katharina Rall (USA)- Katharina Rall is a Researcher with the Health and Human Rights Division at Human Rights Watch where her current work is focusing on human rights violations in the context of climate change and environmental health.
The Women’s Environment & Development Organization is a global women’s advocacy organization for a just world that promotes and protects human rights, gender equality and the integrity of the environment.