The International Forum of Women for an International Court of the Environment
Women and an International Court of the Environment
The profound and unique role that women play in protecting and improving the natural environment and human health is undeniable. Grassroots women's groups in poor communities, in inner-city and urban communities and in indigenous communities have grown up spontaneously. Other women's advocacy groups in civil society have formed to support and assist them. This is because it is often women and their families who suffer the most from environmental degradation, pollution, toxic exposure and health risks. They are now calling for environmental and social justice.
In 1994, a special forum, then known as the Social Forum of the International Court of the Environment Foundation (ICEF) added its voice to this movement. At a Conference entitled “Towards the World Governing of the Environment” held in Venice from 2 to 5 June 1994, the important contribution of women in raising awareness to environmental and sustainability issues as well as in campaigning for access to “green” justice was illustrated and debated.
Following on from this, the Forum, which by now had been transformed into the International Forum of Women for an International Court of the Environment, organised an International Conference "Women, Justice and the Environment”, once again held in Venice, on 5 and 6 May 1995. The idea behind the Conference was to present a special public simulation of judgments rendered in the most important cases of environmental damage on the various continents represented.
Leading women in the environmental justice movement from different countries participated and gave their testimony. These included Vandana and Mira Shiva and Indira Jaising from India who respectively analysed the issues of food safety in that country and the continuing saga of the victims of the Bhopal disaster; Esperanza Martinez from Ecuador who described the problems caused in her country by oil exploration and pollution; and Rosalie Bertell from Canada who looked at the multiple facets of the nuclear debate. Other contributors included Roxana Salazar from Costa Rica, Vittoria Tauli-Corpuz from the Philippines, Marilena Uliescu from Romania and as well as authoritative Italian delegates. The Proceedings of this Conference were published in 2001 with the support of the Greens in the European Parliament.
The most recent initiative of the International Forum of Women for an International Court of the Environment is its contribution to the International Conference on “The Protection and Sustainable Development of the Mediterranean-Black Sea Ecosystem” held inVenice, from 24 to 26 May 2007.
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