Thursday, 27 October 2011

Increased Attention on the Role of Women in the Fight Against Climate Change

Young girls plant the rice crop in the village fields. UN Photo/Martine Perret

On Monday, October 24th, 2011, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, (UNFCCC), the main international body dealing with climate change, hosted a Twitter dialogue led by Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, and the UN’s top climate change official, on the role of women in fighting climate change.

The dialogue generated much useful commentary which reaffirmed the Executive Secretary’s message that women play a leading role in fighting climate change, because they tend to be the primary educators of values, and are often the most concerned with the welfare of their children and their families’ livelihoods.

Female Twitter users from around the world joined the conversation, and gave their two cents on how they believe women are helping combat the negative issues related to climate change. Participants ranged from concerned moms, to advocacy groups dedicated to sustainable living, and their message was one of hope and inspiration.

When asked about the nature of the event, and why she chose to focus on women, Figueres tweeted that "women know how changes in climate affect families and communities; They also know how to adapt; Let’s ask women!" She also cautioned that "change needs to occur at every level: upstream, downstream… [as] climate is not solved by any single change."

DARA is also increasingly active on gender issues. In fact, it is currently undertaking a research study to assess how well Gender Equality Programming,(GEP) influences humanitarian outcomes, related to climate change, and other areas of need.

The research study has been commissioned by the United Nations Children's Fund, (UNICEF), a UN organization dedicated to helping children, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, (OCHA), part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies, and UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The study was commissioned on behalf of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, (IASC), the main international coordinating body on humanitarian assistance. It will examine how, and under what conditions GEP has or has not contributed to improved humanitarian outcomes. This will provide much needed, and seriously lacking solid evidence, as previous studies have mostly focused on the negative impacts of gender-blind programming.

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