Panelists Stress Integrating Gender into Climate Change Inequity: Women More Vulnerable to Disasters, Climate Change

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Islamabad, 22 February, 2016: ‘Women are disproportionately vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters and Climate Change, where their rights and socio-economic status are not equal to those of men. Hence, empowerment of women is an important ingredient in building climate resilience’.

Major General Asghar Nawaz, Chairman, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), said this, at the inaugural address of roundtable on ‘Gender and Climate Vulnerabilities: Future Direction for Policy Research and Action’, organized by Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) Pakistan, in collaboration with Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), OXFAM Novib and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). He appreciated LEAD Pakistan’s role in organizing the discussion on the important nexus between gender and Climate Change, an issue which concerns broader segment of the society, especially vulnerable women.

Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, CEO, LEAD Pakistan, and Director Asia, Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), gave the welcome address and highlighted that women in Pakistan are increasingly getting affected from the impacts of Climate Change and there’s a dire need to integrate gender into Climate Change.

The panel discussion facilitated by Ali Tauqeer Sheikh informed that gender and equity are central to sustainable development. With Climate Change having a gender differentiated impact, where women are disproportionately affected, there is a dire need to address gender inequality, which has become a serious challenge for achieving sustainable and equitable climate compatible development.

According to Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, ‘At the moment the world is grappling with two challenges. First is poverty, as half of world’s population is below the poverty line, whereas the second is Climate Change. After COP21, if the world successfully limits global warming to 1.5 Degree Celsius, we’ll experience up to 3 Degree Celsius rise in temperature, which will further make our population vulnerable to the impacts of Climate Change.

The panel comprised distinguished experts from the government, embassies, and development sector, including Dr. Khawar Mumtaz, Member Board of Governors, LEAD Pakistan, and Former Chairperson, National Commission on Status of Women; Samar Minallah, Member Board of Governors, LEAD Pakistan, and Documentary Filmmaker & Anthropologist; Huma Chughtai, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Human Rights; Leslie Tinney, First Secretary, Canadian High Commission; Dr. Farhat Sheikh, Gender Advisor, Canadian High Commission; Seher Afsheen, Programme Manager, OXFAM Novib; Kay Schwendinger, Head of Resident Coordinator’s Office, United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office (UNRCO); and Dr. Virginie la Masson, Research Officer, Social Development/Climate and Environment, Overseas Development Institute, London.

The roundtable aimed to help participants to share and gain knowledge, and serve as a stepping stone in mainstreaming gender within Climate Change.

About LEAD Pakistan: LEAD was established with the support of Rockefeller Foundation in the wake of United Nations Convention on Environment and Development (Rio Conference) in 1992. LEAD Pakistan was started as a member programme of LEAD International. LEAD’s Flagship Leadership Development Programme (LDP) was started in 1996 which is an innovative capacity building initiative designed with the purpose of providing knowledge, awareness, skills, exposure and linkages to leaders of tomorrow and integrating sustainable development concerns with their professional work. LEAD Pakistan has continued to build its portfolio by planning and delivering interventions in different development areas and sectors especially education, health, livelihood, food & agriculture, environment, forestry, water, energy and climate change etc.