Monday October 18, 2021

Zartaj Gul hints at including gender lens in climate change policy

July 02, 2021

Islamabad : Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul Wazir has said that climate change is not a gender-neutral phenomenon and a gap between Climate Change policies and gender issues still exists that needs to be redressed properly.

Ms. Gul was speaking at the report launch 'Climate-induced migration among women: stories from Muzaffargarh and Tharparkar districts of Pakistan' organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here Thursday. Ms. Gul said that we need to acknowledge that the struggle that women face during the climate crisis is different from those that are faced by men.

While commenting on the findings of the report that were shared earlier, Ms. Gul said that we cannot have women empowerment without education and financial independence. Therefore, including women in the workforce and providing employment opportunities as well as ensuring access to school and agricultural trainings are imperative.

Climate-induced migration with a gender lens must be included in Pakistan’s Climate Change policy” she said while informing the participants that her Ministry is working to achieve this objective. She continued that the implementation of laws for protecting women from gender-based violence should be ensured while working with provincial and district-level law enforcing agencies.

Director Climate Action Network in South Asia Sanjay Vashist emphasised that we must look at this Climate Change-induced migration from a regional and international perspective. Sharing his own presentation on climate migration in South Asia, he said that climate change will severely impact agriculture, water resources, ecosystems, food security, health and energy production in the region whereas women and children are particularly vulnerable before this phenomenon.

Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, stressed that the gender aspect of climate migration is an important lens to examine this climate reduced internal migration in our policy structures.

During COVID-19, we also need to consider complications when dealing with IDPs and displaced women should be included under the coverage of social protection mechanisms, Dr. Suleri said adding that women-led households should be reached out on a priority basis. Besides, we need to expand the scope of studies on the issue from national to regional to international levels, he observed.

Raus Marija from International Centre for Migration Policy Development said that we need to focus on migration and long-term effects of Climate Change as well as developing possible strategies and tools on climate migration. Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable and disaster-prone regions to Climate Change and thus making data collection on climate migration should be a priority area in the future.

Head of ICMPD Pakistan office Raana Rahim opined that since the report highlighted how the negative impact of climate change disproportionately affects the poorer and less educated fragments of society, particularly, women, the response must also be gender-responsive with taking these needs into consideration.

Earlier, Danish Hasan Ansari from SDPI said that the economic empowerment is necessary to boost women’s decision-making power. Moreover, we need to launch awareness campaigns on Climate Change impact for communities at the grassroots level and health and hygiene needs of the women and girls, especially during crisis time. Khansa Naeem, Maryam Shabbir Abbasi, also spoke on the occasion.