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May 27, 2024

Leverage Creativity of Grassroot Women to Enhance Efforts Aimed at Addressing Growing Climate Crisis, UN Advisor Urges African Govts

The vision of an environmentally sustainable, resilient, and inclusive future for Africa is within grasp when governments tap into the creativity of grassroot women and girls to enhance efforts addressing the growing climate crisis, Mehjabeen Alarakhia, UN Women’s regional advisor on Women’s Economic Empowerment for East and Southern Africa has said.

Speaking at a Nairobi forum on Tuesday, Alarakhia emphasized the potential of women on the continent of Africa.

Organized by UN Women, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the three-day women’s forum running from April 16 to 18 will delve into the crucial role of gender-responsive climate policies in propelling Africa’s sustainable development agenda.

Representatives from governments, civil society, academia, and indigenous communities across over 30 African nations have gathered for the conference.

Their goal is to outline a fresh path forward for Africa that integrates gender inclusivity and environmental sustainability.

Ms. Alarakhia emphasized the pivotal role of women in enhancing Africa’s resilience against climate-related challenges.

Recognizing the disproportionate impact of climate change on rural women and girls in Africa, Ms. Alarakhia highlighted their potential to spearhead resilient initiatives, such as conservation of natural resources.

She added, “Climate change threatens the livelihood of African women and girls, intensifying their health risks and inability to access clean water. But women’s input should be at the heart of climate response.”

William Otieno, the UNFCCC Regional Lead for East and Southern Africa, observed that empowering African women and girls would be key to achieving the continents’ desired outcomes during global climate negotiations.

According to Mr Otieno, gender inclusivity should inform national and regional processes geared toward a just and sustainable transition in a continent reeling from a host of climate disasters.

Evelyn Koech, the Team Leader of Environment and Resilience at UNDP Kenya, said African countries required gender-inclusive policies to tame the devastating impacts of climate change, including floods, droughts, forced displacement, and resource-based conflicts, taking a heavier toll on women.

Ms Koech added that for the continent to transition to a more resilient and green future, governments should integrate gender parity in climate finance and efforts to achieve net-zero targets.

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