Climate talks with Rita Ukawa: “Women play a key role in forest conservation and biodiversity” – CIDSE

Climate talks with Rita Ukawa: “Women play a key role in forest conservation and biodiversity”

Cover photo: Friends of the Earth Africa.

From 6 to 18 November 2022, the 27th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27) took place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. COP27 was supposed to be an African COP, one that supports the rights of the African People for a sustainable future and a just and clean energy transition. However, the presence of lobbyists during the negotiations influenced the final text, which is weak in promoting the phase-out of fossil fuels. The Climate Talks series is a space for our partners and allies to express their concerns and experiences around the climate crisis. We interviewed Rita Ukawa, Friends of the earth Africa, on how women are affected by the climate crisis and why it is important to protect their role.

Rita Uwaka works at Friends of the Earth Africa leading the Forest and Biodiversity programme. During COP27, we had the opportunity to learn how women are affected by the climate crisis and the important role they play in their communities.

Watch the interview below:

How is the climate crisis affecting your community?

So many ways… Our forests are being grabbed and this is causing a lot of forced migration for forest-dependent people because when these forests that are land grabbed by corporations and other commodities companies, a lot of lands, farm lands, forests and landscapes, are taken over for agrocommodities causing a lot of social, environmental and, of course, gender impacts on communities and on people who depend on the land for farming, for sustainable livelihood, who depend on forests for food, for fruits and also for medicine.

What is the role of women in preserving the environment?

Women play a key role in forest conservation and biodiversity conservation, in land and food production. But when there are threats as a result of oil exploration activities, of oil exploration companies of agrocommodities companies. Who are the worst hit? Women, of course. Because they are connected to the land, to the forest, to care work. So when a lot of these are affected, only does it not affect women, it also affects the ones they take care of their husbands, their daughters, their sons. The whole mix of human beings that live like in the community that depend on women for care, for survival most times, because these women are connected to the forest, the food production

What are your takeaways from the climate negotiations?

A lot of our governments have been brainwashed to believe that false solutions, it’s a positive way to address climate crises. We have multiple crises in front of us, and Africa seems to be the worst hit by all of this climate catastrophe. The biodiversity crisis, the climate crisis, the food crisis, the care crisis. All of it epitomizes the impacts on the African continent, on the people, the indigenous communities and local communities and indigenous peoples. So the idea is to make our leaders understand the implications of the different agreements

Bonus: What book, movie or music album would you recommend to activists?

One of the music that inspired me so much is that of Bob Marley, One Love. In the midst of all the crises, in the midst of all odds, togetherness and love and unity can suppress every form of silencing the corporations want to put on us.

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