Written submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women: IWGIA inputs to the Report on violence against women and girls in the context of the climate crisis
The consequences of climate change are often felt most acutely by Indigenous Peoples and have gendered impacts. Forced migration as a result of climate change and water scarcity are susceptible of making Indigenous women and girls more vulnerable to human rights abuses.
Indigenous communities in Asia denounced how women and girls were forced to walk further and further out onto the land, and spend more time collecting water and firewood than they used to. In the Arctic, weather changes, thin ice and severe weather conditions are impeding traditional harvesting and hunting activities, depleting animals on which they base their sustenance, and affecting women’s traditional roles.
State conservation efforts and programmes to adapt to and mitigate climate change, when they are designed without consulting Indigenous Peoples and implemented without their participation, can have adverse gendered impacts. Indigenous women hold essential knowledge regarding climate mitigation and adaptation, passed on from one generation to the next, yet they continue to be excluded or underrepresented in environmental policymaking. When they speak up, Indigenous women often face criminalization and intimidation.
This written contribution is respectfully submitted by IWGIA to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women in response to the call for inputs on the impacts of violence against women in the context of the climate crisis and environmental degradation to inform the Special Rapporteur's report, to be presented at the 77th session of the General Assembly.
The submission outlines the impacts of climate change, main challenges and opportunities in relation to the climate crisis, facing Indigenous women and girls, who make up roughly 2.5% of the global population, and who are among those contributing the least to climate change but suffering the most from the effects of climate change and environmental degradation.