ABOUT THE WOMEN’S EARTH & CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK (WECAN) INTERNATIONAL
Mission: The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is a climate justice-based initiative established to unite women worldwide as powerful stakeholders in sustainability solutions, policy advocacy, and worldwide movement building for social and ecologic justice.
WECAN engages women grassroots activists, Indigenous and business leaders, scientists, policy makers, farmers, academics and culture-shapers in collaboration with the goal of stopping the escalation of climate change and environmental and community degradation, while accelerating the implementation of just climate solutions through women’s empowerment, advocacy at international policy forums, trainings, on-the-ground projects, advocacy campaigns, and political, economic, social and environmental action.
WECAN Women of the Democratic Republic of Congo lead a local reforestation program
Vision: WECAN was created to accelerate a holistic Global Women’s Earth and Climate Action through the protection and defense of the Earth’s diverse ecosystems and communities.
Our basic relationship with the natural world has been distorted. Humanity is systematically destroying our home and undermining the vital cycles of our living Earth. We are in dire need of a paradigm shift and an upwelling of global action. The window for meaningful action on climate change will not be open for long.
It is internationally recognized that women are critical to implementing climate change and sustainability solutions, however there is a lack of prominent mechanisms or platforms to wield a united effort into a defined movement. WECAN is engaging women's organizations worldwide, from many sectors, to join together and take action. Our strategic focus is strengthening and building the capacity of women’s leadership worldwide as an essential ingredient to solving critical issues of climate mitigation and adaptation, while also transforming and healing our relationship with Nature.
We believe breakthrough alliances are critical at this time. The complexities of the climate crisis require systemic change in how we are living with each other and our Earth. By gathering diverse representation, WECAN embraces a whole-systems approach to understanding the intricacies of climate change, from the impacts on the natural world to the threats to social justice and survival.
We work ongoingly to organize and support direct actions and mobilizations; on the ground climate solutions projects; frontline community solidarity delegations; educational events and trainings; media and storytelling; and political advocacy. WECAN carries forth it’s mission using an ‘inside/outside’ strategy – engaging both inside of United Nations climate change negotiations and other global policy forums, and outside on the streets, in the fields and in the forests with the people’s movement for climate justice.
WECAN and allies present a Frontline Women’s Press Conference inside of UN COP21 climate negotiations
Guiding Principles: There is a profound way in which women create an unstoppable force when united together. WECAN draws inspiration from the power of the Chipko Movement of India, the U.S Women’s Suffrage Movement, the global Rural Women’s movement and the Liberian Women’s Peace Movement, among others. Women around the world are calling for system change, and towards this end we endorse a rights-based approach to climate justice.
WECAN Guiding Principles for new environmental, social, and economic paradigms
Rights of Women
Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Rights of Nature
Rights of Future Generations
History: The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International was founded in 2013 as an initiative of the Women’s Earth and Climate Caucus (WECC) (estb. 2011), a 501c3 non-profit based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California.
Global women gathered at the 2013 International Women’s Earth & Climate Summit
WECAN International’s development was catalyzed by the 2013 WECC International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit, which brought together more than 100 women leaders from around the globe to raise their voices, unite and collaborate for just climate change solutions. Over the course of the Summit, the need for a long-term, diverse and decentralized mechanism for women’s climate justice organizing became clear. Thus, WECAN, the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, was born.
Prior to the transformation from WECC to the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) – WECC carried out initiatives including:
- WECC organized over forty forums and events highlighting women’s leadership in climate change action, including one that was live-streamed to millions of viewers worldwide in conjunction with the 2010 Week of UN Peace Day
- In 2011, WECC organized and hosted a forum on women’s leadership and climate change during the United Nations 19th Commission on Sustainable Development.
- At the Rio+20 Earth Summit in June 2012, WECC organized and hosted a UN Side Event, entitled “Women Leading the Way: Mobilizing for an Equitable, Resilient and Thriving Future”. The event highlighted women worldwide as innovators and change-agents necessary to mitigating and adapting to climate change and environmental degradation, while also demonstrating a path forward through cross-sector and cross-cultural solutions built from the grassroots, up.
- WECC served on the Women’s Major Group for advocacy at the Rio+20 Earth Summit
- WECC partnered with leaders from the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature to host two major events at Rio+20 Summit and contributed to a Rio+20 report about Rights of Nature.
- In February 2013, WECC organized a delegation of women leaders to advocate opposition to and alternatives to the XL Keystone Pipeline in Washington D.C. These women leaders included First Nations women from Alberta, Canada along with women farmers from Texas. A meeting was also organized with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) so the women leaders could present their cases against the pipeline to the EPA and advocate for swift action. Due to this effort, in addition to advocacy work by many other environmental groups, the EPA issued a strong critique of the U.S. State Department’s evaluation and defense of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
- 2011-2013 WECC conducted trainings in bioregional knowledge, skills and resilient community development as well as Rights of Nature, water conservation and renewable energy trainings.
Patricia Gualinga of Sarayaku, Ecuador strategizes with women from over 35 countries during the 2013 Women’s Earth and Climate Summit
The founding goals of WECC included:
- Advocate for women (especially those that are under-represented from developing countries and Indigenous communities) to be positioned at the decision-making table on conversations pertaining to climate change mitigation, adaptation and sustainability solutions. This includes forest protection and fossil fuel resistance campaigns.
- Convene women leaders from various backgrounds and areas of expertise (including grassroots organizations, policy-making agencies, as well as the business and scientific communities) to ensure interdisciplinary collaboration on policies regarding water, food, energy, climate change and community resilience.
- Provide trainings in bioregional knowledge, skills and resilient community development. This includes addressing long-term cultural and societal narratives, values, lifestyles, the status quo and designing a different, alternative path forward.
- Promote Rights of Nature policies and offer programs that foster Rights of Nature. Advocating for “Rights of Nature” as a strategic legislative tool to address climate change, promote international advocacy, and to offer educational events about Rights of Nature, community rights and new economic structures.
- Educates and support women and men in building equitable, resilient communities from encouraging local and ecological food and energy models to advocating for rights of nature and sustainable policies. Trainings include reconnecting with the nature and understanding the vital importance of living within the earth’s carrying capacity.