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Brief remarks on the Gender Perspectives on Climate Change, Thursday, 28 February 2008
28 February 2008 / 03:28

My delegation concurs with the conclusion that the impact of climate change is being distributed diversely among various regions, generations, income groups and genders. Women carry households on their own in many developing countries. Scarcity of food and degenerating health due to the harmful effects of climate change is consequently already an integral part of their daily life.

Women are in many communities still in a disadvantaged position due to their limited access to resources, restricted rights and limited mobility and in many circumstances a muted voice in decision making. These circumstances obviously make them highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

In various maroon and indigenous villages that were hit during the 2005 flood in Suriname’s interior, women were predominantly affected since they are the main providers of food in these communities. According to Oxfam International in many of the Indonesian villages that were worst hit by the 2004 tsunami, up to 80 percent of the victims were female, and during the 2003 heat wave in Europe women accounted for 70 percent of the deaths in France.

The World Conservation Union concluded that during emergencies women are less likely to have accesses to first hand information about assistance than men, however the key international instruments established so far to tackle the climate change phenomenon make minimal or no mention of gender or women in particular.

It is essential to find and pin-point a gender-sensitive approach for responding to the existing environmental and humanitarian crises cause by climate change.

Mr. Chairperson, my delegation firmly believes that the climate change phenomenon is affecting the human rights of women directly, it is for this reason that my delegation would like to see the consideration of this issue also from a human rights or human security perspective.

Discussing climate change and its impacts from a human rights or humanitarian perspective will shift the focus of the discussion more directly to the individuals or groups of people, and mainly on how climate change affects their lives as human beings in general and women in particular. Along with the human factor, the human rights approach will also introduce a unique accountability framework towards the developed world with regard to human induced climate perturbations.

I thank you kindly Mr. Chairperson.