The Human Rights Council this afternoon held a panel discussion women’s rights and climate change: climate action, good practices and lessons learned.
Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that across the planet, the climate crisis was stripping people of their rights and identity, and even in some cases, their homes, countries and their lives. Within this context, there were a number of clear links between climate change and the effective enjoyment of women’s rights. Climate change had specific adverse impacts on women and girls. During extreme weather events, women were more likely to die than men, due to differences in socio-economic status and access to information. Women who were pregnant and breastfeeding were subject to food insecurity resulting from climate change. At the same time, women and girls had much to contribute to climate action. This may particularly be the case for women from marginalized communities who lived in the most precarious at-risk areas.
Hilda C. Heine, President of the Marshal Islands, speaking in a video message, said women and girls were very often worst affected by climate change while also being important agents of change in the fight against climate threats. These two facets were often intertwined. Women played a central role for the well-being of their families, especially for children and older persons. But that role often meant a women’s well-being was sacrificed first. There were already so many striking examples of women’s leadership and much potential could be unlocked if States invested more to empower women. A first step was to ensure strong participation and representation in policy-making. Women were strongly involved in the Marshall Islands’ policy consultations, its climate-related planning committees and in the work of its key implementing agencies. “If we can do it, so can others,” she said