After two weeks of negotiations on the future of climate change action in Cancun, Mexico, I think governments, together with all concerned parties, need to face the situation head on, says Fidaa Fawwaz Haddad, Gender Focal Point from IUCN’s Regional Office for West Asia.
This is the only way we can reduce the harmful impact of climate change, adapt to these impacts and provide environmentally adequate infrastructure for human settlements to survive.
This should happen within a well-defined framework and timeline, and it should include women within that decision making process, so that we can guarantee rational and sustained use of the earth’s limited resources as well as sustainable human development.
The human face of the language used in the climate change negotiations is progressing well thanks in part to the great advocacy work of women, who are powerful agents of change, as well as innovators in response to environmental challenges.
I am working with the Arab League States here in Cancun to ensure a common language on gender. I’m also trying to make sure that they’re aware that the impacts of climate change will be felt differently between various groups – this is particularly true for poor women and men in developing countries.
Countries have to take action on developing gender sensitivity programmes to guarantee better environmental efficiency, allowing for decent housing and adequate living standards, in addition to providing basic services for the most vulnerable groups.
Many Arab countries will be affected by climate changes, which may include increased desertification and land degradation, water shortages and a halving of rain-fed crop yields by 2020.
Most of the Arab delegates we work with believe in women’s role as the stewards of natural resources, positioning them well to develop strategies for adapting to changing environmental realities based on their responsibilities within households and communities.