The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women: General Recommendation on Gendered-Dimensions of Disaster Risk Reduction

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Amnesty International welcomes the opportunity to provide the following preliminary observations in advance of the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women’s half- day of general discussion on the gendered-dimensions of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change on 29 February 2016.

Amnesty International notes that the CEDAW Committee is the first UN human rights treaty body to substantially engage on the issue of climate change, particularly in light of its 2009 Statement on Gender and Climate Change.1 The organization would like to express its appreciation to CEDAW for its pioneering leadership in this area. It provides a key opportunity to ensure that human rights and gender equality are at the forefront of laws and policies adopted to tackle disaster relief and climate change. Critical to this is recognising state obligations under CEDAW to prevent climate change because of the disproportionate impact it has on women and girls, to remove structural inequalities that lead to this disproportionate impact and ensure gender equality in measures to both mitigate against and adapt to climate change and disasters. In particular the impacts of intersectional discrimination, including on individuals at risk of discrimination on multiple grounds such as sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, social or economic status, ethnicity and disability, must be recognized.

Amnesty International raises a number of issues for consideration below, but it should not be seen as implying an order of prioritisation of the issues commented on. Amnesty International sees all human rights as intersectional, interdependent and indivisible. In addition, this submission aims to supplement, rather than repeat, analysis that is already contained in the Concept Note prepared for the General discussion, and the 2009 CEDAW Statement on Gender and Climate Change. Therefore, this submission is not intended to set out Amnesty International’s full position on gender and climate change.