The Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL) in partnership with Business for Peace Community Development Foundation or B4P CODEFOUND has hosted its second edition of the Liberia-Diaspora Women and Youth Forum (LDWYF) on the Theme, “From Global to Local: Women, Climate Change and the Environment; the case of Liberia and the diaspora” in Monrovia.
The Forum was here virtually in commemoration of the sixty-sixth session of the commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) which annually brings together world leaders from the United Nations, members states, civil society actors as well as donors and business communities.
Its overall goal is to foster dialogue and provide Liberian women and youth an opportunity to learn in order to continue to amplify their voices and enhance their advocacy and leadership potentials where they find themselves. Women and youth from other nationalities or immigrant communities were invited to enrich the discussions. Due to challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the CSW was held virtually.
The LDWYF was approved as one of the international parallel events hosted by the NGO CSW Forum which provides a bigger platform and opportunity for Civil Society actors to dialogue and influence decision-making processes held at the level of the United Nations and its member states.
Panelists of the Side-event were Madam Loretta Pope-Kai, Chairperson; National Civil Society Council of Liberia, Madam Naomi Tulay Solanke Founder and Executive Director of Community Healthcare Initiatives, Madam Miatta Darwolor Thomas, Founder and Executive Director of Sister Aid Liberia Inc.; Madam Siatta Scott Johnson, President of the Female Journalist Association of Liberia and Madam Musu Barto.
The Acting Head of Programs at UN Women Liberia, Ms. Ghorma Karloweah, says UN Women as an entity responsible for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment and a partner of WONGOSOL, is elated to participate in the auspicious dialogue and share special remarks.
Madam Karloweah says UN Women recognizes the courage, resilience, leadership and collective progress of the various women organizations towards a more gender-equal world with a pledge to break biases against women.
“Although we are still celebrating women’s month, marginalization of women and girls persists. In the past two years, we have seen increasing inequalities due to the
impact of COVID-19 Pandemic.” She notes.
The UN Women boss says besides, global crisis like the current conflict in Ukraine has reinforced what Liberian women already knew and experienced, noting that women endure the worst during war.
Ms. Karloweah continues that in Liberia, like the rest of the world, the accelerating crises of climate change and environmental degradation are disproportionately undermining the wellbeing of women and girls.
She says rise in sea level, changes in rainfall patterns and coastal erosion is affecting several sources of livelihood for women, stressing that the coastline has been a major boost for agriculture and fishing activities, which women heavily rely on.
She laments that unfortunately, sex-disaggregated data on climate change impacts is not available, which makes it even more difficult to respond adequately to the differential needs of women and men.
According to Madam Karloweah, understanding the various impacts of climate change on men and women, as well as their participation in both mitigation and adaptation strategies is critical since Liberian women are highly vulnerable to environmental hazards, particularly water stress.
“Let me proffer few actions for stakeholders’ home and abroad to promote open dialogues with community leaders and members of coastal communities to raise awareness of ensuing risks.”
She says this will also provide an opportunity to understand differential needs and concerns regarding coastal adaptation, considering that communities may feel threatened by some adaptation measures because their homes are often the most significant material and financial asset they possess.
Also speaking, Ms. Aisha Lai, Head of Office at Kvinna Kvinna says, she recognizes there is an urgency to address global threat of climate change and environmental degradation to gain feminist peace.
She adds that this can be done by interlinking ECC to gender base violence, economic gender equality, peace building and equal participation.
Madam Lai notes that to achieve feminist peace, they need to find a balance between humans and the environment and subsequently make a holistic analysis that reflects the connections between how human activities impact the environment, which in turn impacts human lives. Editing by Jonathan Browne