A side-event organized by the African Development Bank and UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, highlighted how COP26 must deliver gender-sensitive responses for millions of women and girls who bear the brunt of climate change.
“Current efforts to adapt to climate change are simply not sufficient. Moreover, solutions are not always designed to prevent disproportionate impacts on women and girls, as well as other vulnerable or marginalized populations,” said Dr. Bannet Ndyanabangi, Regional Director ad interim for the UNFPA in East and Southern Africa, at the side event on Gender and Climate Change Adaptation on the Africa Continent: ramp-up and innovations.
Empowered women and girls have the capacity to build resilient communities, relying on locally-led solutions as they take on climate action to protect and safeguard lives, and ensure a sustainable future in which the health and well-being of all are protected. Africa, which has been severely impacted by the intensifying impacts of climate change, is in dire need of adaptation financing to strengthen health systems and enable bold and measurable climate adaptation responses that are gender sensitive.
As Dr. Beth Dunford, African Development Bank Vice President of Agriculture, Human and Social Development pointed out, while “gender inequality in sub-Saharan Africa costs the continent some $95 billion each year in lost economic potential, the African Development Bank is committed to ensuring an inclusive transition toward climate adaptation, and this means enabling greater access to key resources such as financing, training and technology for women.”
Dr. Amel Hamza, manager of the gender and women’s empowerment division at the African Development Bank, underlined the main challenges their institution tackles, and why and how they recently worked on identifying gender and climate change hot spots in Africa and focused on gender-responsive case studies in the agriculture sector.
Dr. Angela Baschieri, UNFPA Population Dynamics Policy Adviser for East and Southern Africa, stressed the importance of sexual and reproductive heath and rights in a review of 50 Nationally Determined Contributions to achieve gender equality and help build resilience and adaptive capacity of women and youth.
A panel discussion focused on the need for climate finance to get a strong gender lens, otherwise it could “contribute, perpetuate or even deepen some the gender inequalities that exist,” said Nina Kolybashkina, Senior Social Development Specialist at Climate Investment Funds. She detailed Climate Investment Funds new programmes and how they look at creating gender transformative impacts in holistic, catalytic and synergistic ways.
If gender-responsive funding can be a vehicle for gender equality, “smart partnerships are critical to protect lives and livelihoods of vulnerable communities,” said Dr. Christiana George, Gender Advisor at African Risk Capacity, hence the creation of a Gender and Disaster Risk Management Platform to enhance upstream and downstream interactions.
Oksana Pak, Head of the Access to Finance and Entrepreneurship Pillar within the Gender and Economic Inclusion at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, emphasized the role of private sector involvement to empower women as agents of change as they do within their Green Economy Financing Facilities. Brenda Mwale, Programme Officer of the Green Girls Platform and 2019 Obama Leader, highlighted that if vulnerable populations are more affected by climate change disasters, they are also the ones holding the tailored and appropriate solutions.
For more information, or to request interviews, contact:
Daisy Leoncio, UNFPA, firstname.lastname@example.org, WhatsApp: +1 347 4919154
Camille Quénard, AfDB, email@example.com, WhatsApp: +225 67 718153
UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. UNFPA calls for the realization of reproductive rights for all and supports access to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services, including voluntary family planning, maternal health care and comprehensive sexuality education.
African Development Bank
The primary objective of the African Development Bank Group is to reduce poverty in its regional member countries by contributing to their sustainable economic development and social progress. To this end, it mobilizes resources to promote investment in these countries and provides them with technical assistance as well as policy advice.