This article was first published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on 28 June 2023.
Read the original article here.
The fast-changing climate has the potential to sharply diminish living conditions for a whopping 800 million residents in South Asia, who are already among the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations.
Over the past two decades, at least 750 million people in South Asia have fallen victim to climate-induced disasters, highlighting the pressing need for action and regional collaboration in the face of an increasingly volatile climate.
However, the region’s fragmentation hinders effective response to these challenges, placing women and children at the forefront of the crisis because of their limited access to power corridors, education, training, and financial independence.
In the battle against the climate crisis, there is an often-overlooked force of change that holds immense potential: South Asian women. Their resilience, strength, and untapped capacity have the power to shape a sustainable future for our planet.
Women bear the brunt of the climate crisis but hold the key to tackling it
She emphasized that “Climate action and women are not niche subjects but are central to our system. For a society to transition towards climate change adaptation and resilience and also take ownership, it is the women that will make this change a reality.”
Women’s representation in key corridors
By proactively increasing their presence in influential positions and key corridors, we can ensure that their voices and unique perspectives are not only heard but also seamlessly integrated into policy formulation and planning processes.
According to UN Women, increasing women’s representation in parliaments, and key power corridors, leads to the adoption of more robust climate change policies, resulting in a significant reduction in carbon emissions across the globe.
By equipping women with the necessary knowledge and skills, we can empower them to play active roles in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.
Train women in disaster management
Gender-responsive policy measures
Considering South Asia’s vulnerability to climate impacts, gender-responsive policy measures are essential in addressing the disproportionate burdens faced by women due to gender inequalities and cultural norms.
Enhancing women’s participation in decision-making processes, ensuring their access to resources and technology, promoting their economic empowerment, and investing in climate-resilient infrastructure and services are crucial steps.
Women’s access to climate finance
Financing is the lifeblood of climate solutions. To unlock the full potential of South Asian women in tackling the climate crisis, we must facilitate their access to climate finance through targeted funding mechanisms designed to address their unique needs.
This requires integrating gender-responsive perspectives, principles, and tools into all aspects of climate finance governance, procedures, processes, and operations, ensuring effectiveness and fairness.
The United Nations Development Programme recommends maximizing climate action outcomes through gender-responsive approaches in finance, directing funds to empower women in rural and community-level initiatives.
Additionally, to utilize national finance tools to manage and coordinate climate finance, integrating it into development plans while prioritizing gender-responsive funding that promotes inclusive, low-emission, and climate-resilient development.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
Aarti Lila Ram is Deputy Manager of Sustainability at Engro Foundation, and Eric Shahzar is an Alumni of the Global Shapers Community, Karachi Hub at the World Economic Forum.