With a spiritual ceremony, the Indigenous Peoples Caucus and the Women and Gender Constituency celebrated Indigenous Women’s Day during the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP24), which takes place in Katowice, Poland.
In this celebration, women leaders from the five continents shared their concerns about the effects of climate change on the lives of their communities. This global phenomenon affects indigenous peoples and women in particular, causing forced displacements and food insecurity.
Rosemary Mesopirr, a Maasai from Kenya, said that when she was young, there were regular rains in the Maasai communities, which allowed them to ensure their access to water and food. However, with climate change, droughts came, which have had “tremendous effects on the lives of women, children and young people”.
Annie Te One, Maori from Aotearoa (New Zealand), argued that Maori women, due to climate change, are losing their relationship with land and with traditional knowledge. This has repercussions, like displacement to urban areas, that produce serious inequalities.
“For us, women of indigenous peoples, it is necessary to defend our individual rights, as women, and collective rights, as peoples. When we talk about climate change, we worry about what is happening with Mother Earth and our resources, and how the depletion of these resources affects our lives. That is why we are here”, said Tarcila Rivera Zea, executive director of CHIRAPAQ.
In turn, Janene Yazzie, indigenous Dine woman from the United States of America, dedicated her words “to all our sisters who are saying ‘no more’ and taking these spaces to protect all life, for all of humanity.”
The initiative was organized by Rivera Zea, Edna Kaptoyo (International Indigenous Women’s Forum), and Tayly Terena (Commission of Children and Youth of the Continental Liaison of Indigenous Women of the Americas), with the objective of promoting the articulation of indigenous women of the regions affected by climate change, as well as the visibility of their problems, expressed from a specific perspective as women and as indigenous, which often ends up excluded from global negotiations.
The COP24 takes place over two weeks in Katowice, where the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change discuss the adoption of a rulebook for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.