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09 Mar 2011 02:03:56

Gender perspective crucial in adaptation

Although climate change affects everyone, its drivers and effects are not gender neutral. When their economic and social rights are not protected, women suffer disproportionately. CIWEM wants to highlight the fact that, although women are particularly vulnerable to changing environmental conditions, they play a crucial role in contributing to climate change mitigation.

CIWEM believes that women can be positive agents of change and contributors to livelihood adaptation strategies. Women world-wide are fundamental to the management of their local resources and the sustaining of local communities, so natural disasters could provide a unique opportunity to challenge and change gender inequality in society.

CIWEM believes that women have a key role in tackling climate change as consumers, educators and agents of change. However, their decision-making power and participation in defining appropriate mitigation measures are still limited.

The exclusion of women from related issues will impede efforts to achieve wider goals like poverty reduction and sustainable development and gender inequality can worsen the impacts of climate change. Therefore, CIWEM believes that gender perspective is essential when discussing climate policy development, mitigation and adaptation. The leadership of women parliamentarians and decision-makers is needed to bring a gender perspective to shape equitable climate change policies, including the voices of poor and vulnerable women.

CIWEM calls for the integration of gender perspectives in policies and programmes for sustainable development and would like to see a more holistic approach that incorporates poverty eradication and women's economic empowerment in environmental management and conservation.

Paul Horton, CIWEM's director of international development, says: "Sustainable development is not possible without the empowerment of women and gender equality. Their experience, their participation and their leadership are crucial to the success of global environmental efforts. We must have greater participation and involvement of women in environmental decision-making positions in order to meet the complex environmental challenges of our time."

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