When climate-related disasters strike, everyone is affected — but when it comes to health and household management, women tend to suffer more than men.
Despite this, women and gender issues are yet to be included completely in large-scale climate finance facilities — mechanisms instituted to mitigate disaster effects and spur climate adaptability in development work — due to several challenges, including lack of information and accessibility.
For climate finance mechanisms to become truly sustainable, impactful and comprehensive, putting women at the center of climate action by breaking barriers on accessibility is vital, experts agreed in a recent online conversation hosted by the Asian Development Bank.
“Only when women are recognized as important contributors to address climate change — change agents — and actively sought out as relevant stakeholders are climate funds structures changing to allow more women to benefit from climate finance,” said Liane Schalatek, associate director of U.S.-based group Heinrich Böll Foundation.
This expert further explained that the issue of accessibility in climate finance particularly with women is (relatively) based on the basic economic principle of demand and supply.
“We see two components in breaking down access to climate funds. They have demand and supply elements,” Schalatek explained. “Demand being women’s 'access to knowledge, and low carbon technology.”
One of the best examples of putting women at the forefront of climate finance during disasters is when Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in November 2013. The incident showed that one of the most severely affected sectors of society are women — which hold their families together in the aftermath of such a calamity, especially in terms of health, food, and sanitation.
“Women play a frontline role in managing energy, waste and water resources and are uniquely positioned to contribute in the fight against climate change,” noted Karen Palmer, ADB communications specialist. “Yet few would say that women have easy access to multi-million dollar global climate funds.”
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