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Putting women at the centre of climate change responses

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“We know that people who are the most affected by the impacts of climate change are the ones who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods, live in hardship, do not have financial security, have less mobility, have fewer choices, and have less opportunity to voice their concerns. Overall, there are more women than men suffering from those situations. Moreover, when there is a crisis, there are more domestic violence cases; again, women are the principal victims. Despite this, we still struggle to find the right way to implement climate change strategies that have a tangible impact on women’s lives. I believe that progressing gender equality and empowering women are critical if we want to develop the resilience of our communities. We do need to encourage their leadership and make available the resources they need for their economic security. We have to make sure that they are safe from the adverse impacts of climate change and safe from violence in their home. We must tap into the energy of our youth and the innovations they proposed.”

-Tuvalu Minister for Health, Social Welfare and Gender Affairs, Isaia Vaipuna Taape

The 14th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women—acknowledging that climate change is the single   greatest threat to the well-being, security and livelihoods of Pacific people, has called for a gender responsive approach to the climate crisis that encourages women’s meaningful participation at all stages of climate change policies, strategies and plans.

The communique calls for traditional knowledge to be recognised, that governments meet social and environmental safeguards when applying for climate financing, that knowledge hubs be established to improve inclusion and sharing of knowledge , and that women and girls are assured of  gender based violence and sexual and reproductive health rights information and services during times of crisis.

And in a resolution that holds true for all the areas discussed  by the Triennial and Women’s Conference, it states that stakeholders “recognise that recovery efforts in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic present an opportunity to transform our societies and to place women, especially the most marginalised, at the heart of climate change and crisis responses and the transition to a green economy.”

The 14th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women and 7th Meeting of Pacific Ministers for Women has successfully concluded, but the work has just begun. To stay up to date with how this work is being implemented, visit https://www.spc.int/human-rights-and-social-development-hrsd 

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