To build long-lasting resilience to climate change, the Asia-Pacific region must address the root causes of two of its most pressing challenges: human vulnerability and gender inequality.
Women and girls in Asia-Pacific make up 80 per cent of all those living on less than $2 per day. They also face barriers to access natural resources, finance, energy, technologies, and healthcare, education, housing and property. Part of the solution is to ensure that women and disadvantaged groups have the chance to take part in decisions and actions related to climate change.
On 8 March, International Women’s Day, the Government of Sweden is joining forces with UN Women and UN Environment to ensure that human rights are protected and gender equality is promoted in efforts to reduce disaster risk and mitigate and adapt to climate change in the Asia-Pacific region. Achieving this ambitious goal will require increased technical capacity among national governments, civil society groups, regional institutions and other stakeholders.
“Cooperation is crucial to addressing the challenges the Asia-Pacific region faces today and this innovative collaboration between two UN organizations with different thematic mandates is a good step in that direction,” said Anne-Charlotte Malm, Head of Regional Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden, Bangkok.
“The project fits well with Sweden’s priorities in Asia and the Pacific: to contribute to sustainable development by working regionally, through mutual interaction between human rights, democracy, gender equality, environment and climate change. In this way, we are convinced that this partnership will strengthen resilience in the region,” she added.
A large proportion of rural women in Asia and the Pacific earn their livelihoods in climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture and fisheries, thereby increasing their sensitivity to the effects of climate change. Women are also more at risk because of discriminatory gender norms and power imbalances in the region.
The project will enable women to be a part of climate change and disaster risk reduction actions, and give them the tools they need to become renewable energy entrepreneurs. Such support can unlock a brighter, more climate resilient future. This is true not just for women alone, but also for the communities they inhabit. Having access to clean energy has a multiplier effect that spills over into livelihoods, health, education and even safety and security of women.
“UN Women is excited that through this project we are addressing crucial issues of gender equality and human rights in the context of resilience to climate change and disaster. In five years’ time, UN Women, together with its partners, hopes to see women and disadvantaged groups not only more resilient but also empowered to take decisions and lead actions on climate change and disasters,” said Ms. Miwa Kato, Regional Director for UN Women in Asia and the Pacific.
“UN Environment welcomes this unique partnership with UN Women, which will support women and marginalized groups to participate in climate change action and provide them with the means to access renewable energy, which can transform lives,” said Dechen Tsering, Regional Director for UN Environment in Asia-Pacific.