UN urges larger role for women

Chiang Mai's 'Lady Of Governance' project demonstrates how quality of life improves when women are in charge. Photo: Yingyong Un-anongrak

The UN Commission on the Status of Women reaffirmed recently that female leadership is vital in society to address climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction for all, a pivotal move to experience social change across the board, say parties concerned.

The 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women -- the second largest UN intergovernmental meeting in New York -- closed its two-week-long session by acknowledging the important role of women and girls as agents of change for sustainable development.

The agreed conclusions adopted by member states provide a blueprint for world leaders to promote women's full and equal participation and leadership in the designing and implementation of policies and programmes.

It was recognised with concern the disproportionate impact of climate change, environmental degradation and disasters on women and girls, which often leads to loss of home and livelihoods, water scarcities and more.

When displaced, which can often be prolonged, women and girls face specific challenges, which can include separation from support networks, increased risk of all forms of violence, and reduced access to employment, education and essential healthcare services.

The commission also expressed concern that the economic and social fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic had pushed humanity further behind and into extreme poverty.

Initiatives to address these issues should first take into consideration the following:

-  Promote women's and girls' full and equal participation and leadership to make natural resource management and climate, environment, and disaster risk action more effective.

-  Expand gender-responsive finance at scale for climate and environment action and to reach women's organisations, enterprises and co-operatives.

- Build women's resilience in the context of agricultural and food systems, forest and fisheries management and the sustainable energy transition.

-  Enhance gender statistics and sex-disaggregated data within the gender-environment nexus; and foster gender-responsive just transitions.

Executive director of UN Women Sima Bahous said: "The agreements reached by the commission come at a point when the world urgently needs new and coherent solutions to the interlocking crises that impact us all. We now have a pathway with practical, specific measures for global resilience and recovery, and a shared understanding that solutions depend on bringing women and girls to the centre."

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