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Loren: Women bear brunt of climate change savagery

December 18, 2009

Addressing a women’s forum here, Loren said that while males have dominated the spotlight on climate change, women can play a prominent part in arresting climate change to save the world from disaster.
The forum was conducted in connection with the UN summit on climate change simultaneously being held in this city.
Loren told the forum that women “can lead and persevere in the efforts to curb climate change and help push congresses, parliaments and re in the efforts to curb climate change and help push congresses, parliaments and all policy-making bodies to formulate gender-responsive legislation and programs related to climate change and disaster risk reduction.”
The lady senator from the Philippines deplored that “apart from the climate change agenda being driven largely by men, current policies have not recognized the gender-specific effects of climate change. For it is women that bear the brunt of climate change’s savagery.”
Aside from being chair of the Philippine Senate committee on climate change, Loren is also the United Nations champion for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the Asia Pacific region.
She said “policies should come to terms with the fact that women disproportionately shoulder the brunt of shocks and trends of climate and environment change in the face of continued poverty.”
To enable women to play a bigger role in climate change adaptation, Loren urged that the social, cultural and institutional barriers that constrain women should be lifted.
“We will call on the women of the world to engage with governments and communities to realize mitigation, adaptation and disaster risk programs that are truly attuned to their needs on the ground.
“We will call on the parliaments and congresses across the globe to craft gender responsive development policy agendas and reforms that address climate change risks, people’s adaptation and programs for mitigation.”
Citing women’s role all over the world in production, environmentalism and family care, Loren said that in the Philippines, women make up a sizable portion of workers, supporters and volunteers of Luntiang Pilipinas, a tree-planting and seed-donating foundation which she founded. The Luntiang has planted two million trees throughout the country..
Loren noted that women comprise 70% of the world’s poor and women are more vulnerable to the impact of disaster due to the existing socio-economic, political and cultural disadvantages.
She urged governments to undertake nine “achievable actions” before 2015 to empower women. These include “gender mainstreaming”, new relevant laws, strategies, plans, and budgets, and linkage between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation from a gender perspective.
She also proposed gender-sensitive vulnerability, risk and capacity assessments, increased awareness of the public and media on the gender-sensitive vulnerabilities and capacities, support if research institutions to study gender-sensitive policies and programmes and the actual application of disaster risk assessments and programme formulation.
In addition, Loren urged governments to mainstream a gender perspective and equal participation between men and women in the coordination of disaster preparedness and enhance the capacities of professional organizations, communities and pertinent national and local institutions to enable gender mainstreaming into all development sectors.