KAMPALA – United Nations Population Fund – UNFPA Uganda on Thursday held a Post-International Women’s Day Media E- Chat to discuss climate change mitigation which will, in turn, improve the wellbeing of women and girls.
According to UNFPA and partners, women are the most affected by climate change.
The Organisation’s Country Representative, Dr. Mary Otieno during the discussion said that ladies are challenged with climate change in accessing services that are vital to their lives.
“We need to ensure that we can access services timely but how do you do that when there is a flood for instance. When roads are flooded, bridges are broken down, women will not access the services. That’s why climate change is so important to us in terms of ensuring that women are not dying when they are supposed to be delivering children,” she said.
Dr. Otieno said that climate change is not just about the environment, but also about human beings and the quality of human beings.
“It increases poverty, destroys people’s livelihoods, affects the representative health and the wellbeing health of women and girls.”
She said that combating the impact of climate change on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and gender-based violence -GBV and harmful practices is key for UNFPA.
“Advocating for gender-sensitive climate resilience to protect and advance progress on the three transformative results is one of UNFPA Priorities.”
Ms. Hawa Kagoya, Executive Director, Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP) reminded that everyone has a role to play in ensuring gender equality, climate change mitigation and wellbeing of women and girls.
She said that as civil society, one of their key roles is advocating for the passing of laws that are responsive to the women and girls and also the implementing those laws, and even resource appropriation to enforce those laws.
“We also make a contribution, do resource mobilization to enable us implement the ideas, the needs that we know women and girls have because normally civil society has a far reach, up to the household level where the government might not be able to do. That’s where civil society comes in to extend those services to the people, where can they seek support when they need it.”
She, however, decried that even without a crisis, it is a challenge for ladies to access services yet they are so vital for their wellbeing.
“We need to look at climate change in the context of global development. That is the single most threat to the achievement of the SDGs. When you look at each of the SDGs, climate change impacts each of these SDGs significantly and the next is inequality. These two interplay when it comes to gender inequality and climate change.”
In her presentation, Ms. Adekemi Ndieli, Deputy Representative, UN Women said that climate change and inequality are key drivers that are significantly holding back the achievement of the SDGs and economic development in our countries.
“The impact and shock and disaster of the climate change issues mostly affect women and girls,” she said.
“The time came there were locusts, flooding, drought. How do we strengthen the abilities of women to cope with the disasters?” she wondered.
Ms. Ndieli said that her organisation has been helping the government of Uganda to mitigate the impact of these on communities especially women
“We should look at the existing natural calamities such as famine, floods and see how women can withstand and survive in such conditions for a sustainable tomorrow.”
She revealed that women are put at the worst position because the impact of disasters are heavier on them.
Ms. Victoria Miracle Chemutai, Programme Officer, Disability Rights and Inclusion Advocate, a youth living with disability revealed that 12.4% of Ugandans live with disabilities, urging that government should look at PWDs as potential actors to sustainable development and have inclusive trainings for climate change, especially for women living with disabilities.
“Empowerment and capacity building of women and girls especially those living with disabilities is one way of mitigating effects of climate change on women and girls who should be treated as actors.”
Dr. Otieno called on the Government to ensure that policies and interventions are in place when disaster strike.
However, Mr. Idi Mubarak Mayanja, Principle Women in Development Officer, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development said that the government has continued to ensure legislative agenda which speaks to gender equality.
“The legislative agenda which was supposed to be achieved by in the first quarter of 2021/22; the succession bill, legal aid bill (pending approval), and sexual offenses bill. If a combination of such bills come into force, they will double the effort of the existing legislations in terms of securing the sustainable development.”
He congratulated women and girls for having successfully commemorated International Women’s Day.