Gender and climate and disaster resilience

woman checking

Natural disasters and climate-related changes affect entire communities and impede sustainable development. Although they affect whole communities, men and women are impacted differently. Unequal social, political and economic relations, combined with physical differences expose the different vulnerabilities of women and men, usually putting women at greater risk.

Gender equality principles need, therefore to be integral to building individual, institutional and societal resilience. The more women and men participate on an equal basis in managing natural resources, designing, informing and implementing early warning and recovery plans and polices, the more resilient societies are.

In response to these challenges, guided by the global Gender Equality Strategy, UNDP works with national partners to:

Include gender equality principles in disaster and climate risk reduction policies, plans and budgetary frameworks.

  • Collect, analyze and utilize disaggregated data to assess disaster risk from a gender perspective.
  • Strengthen the capacities of women’s organizations to participate in the formulation and implementation of policies, programmes and strategies.
  • Promote women’s and men’s equal involvement in decision-making, employment creation, and reintegration programmes in post-disaster situations.

Some of our recent results:

  • In Armenia, UNDP has strengthened the risk reduction skills and knowledge of the government by integrating gender equality principles into national and local action plans. This included raising awareness among authorities and society about gender dimensions of disasters and introducing gender-responsive measures.
  • Following the floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia in May 2014, UNDP embedded gender concerns into its flood-recovery programmes. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNDP prioritized the rehabilitation of households headed by women and ensured that women benefited from cash-for-work and employment programmes. A total of 132 public institutions were reconstructed, recovering a significant number of public jobs which are predominantly occupied by women.
  • In Serbia, UNDP incorporated a strong gender component in the selection criteria for employment-creation programmes, increasing women’s access to safe and productive livelihoods. A third of all jobs created were filled by women.
  • In Kosovo*, UNDP conducted assessments culminating in the publication of a report that identified critical success factors for building the resilience of women during disasters.
  • In Kyrgyzstan, UNDP integrated the gender dimension into the design of climate-resilient pasture management techniques in the Suusamyr Valley. This resulted in reliable access to irrigation water for 932 people in Kojomkul village, 40 percent of whom were women.

* The references to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).

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