11 Nov 2009 - With a firm agreement elusive in the final days before the start of UN negotiations on climate change in December, the ability of local communities in the Arab region to fight the negative effects of climate change hang in the balance. In a region already burdened by conflict and water insecurity, the lack of an immediate, binding and adequately financed agreement in Copenhagen that allows for action to be taken on the ground will prove to be disastrous.
This was the message from the Senior Global Gender Advisor of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Lorena Aguilar, at the opening of the Middle East training on gender and climate change conducted by the IUCN on behalf of the Global Gender Climate Alliance (GGCA) in Amman, Jordan today.
“Providing funding for implementation has now become a matter of life and death for many communities,” said Aguilar. “We are out of time and people – mostly women - are suffering terribly due to our inability to act. It is critical to ensure that we put finance mechanisms in place that allow communities to adapt to the onslaught of climate change in a fast and effective manner and that can only be done on the back of a binding agreement in Copenhagen. We already know how to do this and can draw on successes in other sectors such as disaster risk reduction,” continued Aguilar. “One way in which we can assist communities in becoming more resilient is to include gender equality considerations into climate change discussions, the design and implementation of projects and to include women in decision making. Women are proven agents of change, have a repertoire of coping strategies in various areas and also take a more altruistic approach in dealing with matters that affect the community.”
The Middle East training is the eighteenth workshop in a series held globally to strengthen capacity and enhance understanding of the links between gender and climate change within the context of current climate change negotiations, i.e. adaptation, mitigation, finance and technology. Taking a strong developmental focus, the workshops have won the praise of government negotiators and community leaders around the world, including Arab government negotiators attending the Asian chapter in Bangkok during October 2009.
“The strong support from governments - and in particular the Arab League - to strengthen capacity on the ground and scale up impact by linking gender and climate change should be applauded,” said Prof. Odeh Al-Jayyousi, IUCN Regional Director for West Asia. “Climate change impacts societies where they are most vulnerable. There is strong evidence that supports our understanding that peace and security in the Middle East region will be seriously compromised due to climate change.”
Worldwide data has proven that by mainstreaming gender equality into climate change initiatives, we can enhance our efforts in reducing vulnerabilities and become more efficient and effective in our solutions – peace and security and natural resource management.
For the complete article, please see IUCN.