African Risk Capacity, UN Women calls for concrete action
The African Risk Capacity (ARC) and UN Women have called for concrete action to strengthen African women and girls’ leadership and resilience in the face of crisis, natural disasters, and climate change.
Both institutions also made a joint call to promote integration of gender equality and the needs of women and girls in climate change and disaster risk management policies and programs.
Both organizations say, women and girls are disproportionally affected by climate change and natural disasters, resulting in a negative spiral of vulnerability and poverty that leaves them exposed to future shocks and crises.
They explained that women and girls’ untapped potential capacities remain too often unleveraged in resilience-building processes. Their full participation and leadership in climate change, environmental, and disaster risk reduction policies and programs is critical to make them more effective for all.
Such has been the agreed conclusion of CSW66, which focused on: “Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programs”.
“Achieving such ambitious goal will require integrating the specific needs of women and girls in climate change and disaster risk reduction policies and programs, expanding gender-responsive finance, that will increase investment in gender-responsive climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programs,” said Oulimata Sarr, Regional Director for UN Women WCARO.
She said critical and urgent actions to build the resilience of women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental degradation, and disasters, will include financing, provision of sustainable infrastructure and public services, social protection, and decent work for women, and enhancing gender statistics and data on climate change, environmental and systemic risks and disaster impacts disaggregated by sex.
“It must also foster a gender-responsive, and just transition to regenerative green and blue economies.”
In this context, UN Women and ARC are joining hands to reduce gender inequalities in access to resilience-building mechanisms and promote better integration of gender equality in disaster risk management in the Sahel and in other African countries.
The UN Women and ARC, in partnership with UNCDF, are engaging with the private sector in Senegal and Mali to pilot innovative and gender-responsive resilience-building services, including mobile-enabled disaster insurance, financial literacy training, climate services, and early childhood warning systems that are tailored to the specific needs of rural women.
According to Ibrahim Cheikh Diong, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Director-General, “Gender considerations in disaster risk management and financing must be a priority to state and non-state actors as gender aspects cut across all themes. Disaster risk finance, disaster preparedness, and response entail giving maximum attention to women’s needs. While women and vulnerable groups are the most affected by disasters, they are not prioritized in the budgets of governments on the African continent.”
He says UN Women and ARC are working together for the implementation of the Nairobi Declaration, which calls on Member States and Regional Economic Communities to increase their annual budgetary allocation and establish innovative financing solutions, adding “I am including participating in ARC’s innovative risk pooling mechanism, for the implementation of gender-sensitive and inclusive disaster risk reduction strategies, programs, and plans of action at all levels”.
Adopted at the 8th Africa Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 7th High-Level meeting organized by the African Union Commission (AUC), Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IGAD), and UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the Nairobi Declaration is a call to strengthen disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk through gender and inclusion mainstreaming, by promoting participation and inclusion of women, youth, and other vulnerable groups and by formulating gender-responsive DRR policies, strategies, plans and legal frameworks in line with the Sendai Framework, Paris Agreement, SDGs and the New Urban Agenda to ensure risk responsive development.