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Environmental justice and women’s rights

Today there are many questions facing us: “What impacts does the environment have on our lives and our work?” “Is the Constitutional provision of enjoying ‘the right to a healthy and safe environment, and to be protected against environmental pollution and ecological imbalance’ properly enforced?” Furthermore, “Is people’s right to life adequately ensured?”

In 2016, we joined Global Alliance for Gender and Green Action (GAGGA) to catalyze the collective power of the women´s rights and environmental justice movements in about 30 countries of the world.

During this alliance, Mongolian Women’s Fund (MONES) has been working on ensuring women’s rights to live in a healthy and safe environment by solving and integrating women’s rights and gender equality with environmental justice issues since last year. Why did the women’s rights organizations start tackling these issues? The reason is that people’s right to life is directly violated as the healthy and safe environment is slowly but gradually disappearing and drinking water is being polluted and in shortage. Their negative impacts are adversely affecting women and children in the first place.

What kind of strategies has guided our work?
Capacity Building: In November 2016, about 100 women’s rights organizations gathered and organized a forum entitled “New Challenges, New Opportunities.” During this forum, the women’s organizations and groups discussed issues on how to develop themselves, to end gender-based violence, to foster the women’s movement, and, to collaborate with other movements. As a result of the forum, it is concluded that the movement should collaborate with other movements rather than working within itself and that the funding on environmental and climate change issues should be accessible to women in general.

After this forum, we held a consultation meeting on “Environmental Justice and Women’s Rights.” The meeting attracted over 60 women from women’s non-governmental organizations (NGO) and groups and they talked about and reached consensus on how to analyze issues from the women’s rights-based perspectives and how environmental issues are related to women’s rights issues.
We announced a project competition among the organizations participating in the consultative meeting. One of the criteria for the women’s NGOs was to participate in the project selection process collectively. As a result of the competition, we selected 13 projects to be implemented by 30 organizations. The two mentors with rich experience on environmental issues worked on the implementing projects by advising and facilitating on how to holistically address the issues of environment, human and women’s rights. In August 2017, we announced another competition among the project-implementing organizations and supported 8 projects to be jointly implemented by 21 organizations.

Resource Mobilization: We explored possibilities of accessing the Green Climate Fund designed to reduce the effects of climate change with the support of the FILIA fund for the Mongolian women and subsequently defined ways to increase this accessibility.

Bankwatch CEE and Oyu Tolgoi Watch NGO jointly held training on “Coal”, “Radioactive Substances”, and gender policy issues of development banks and their engagement with civil society organizations and enhanced knowledge on how to analyze issues with human rights-based and gender-sensitive approaches.

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