Climate Change Impact on Genders to be Identified and Addressed

Photo: JIS Photographer Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Lt. Col. Oral Khan (centre), listens to a point being made by Principal Director of the Climate Change Division in the Ministry, Una May Gordon (right), during a climate change gender analysis forum at the Alhambra Inn in Kingston on September 12. The forum was organised by the Ministry in tandem with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (Foundation for Social Democracy – FES) in Germany, and the South Centre in Switzerland. Others (from left) are Deputy Director General, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, Richard Thompson; gender activist and FES Consultant, Judith Wedderburn; and Senior Research Fellow, the South Centre, Mariama Williams.

Story Highlights

  • The Government has commenced work focusing on the extent to which climate change impacts genders and how these issues can be comprehensively addressed.
  • It is anticipated that recommendations and suggestions emanating from the discussions involving a wide cross section of stakeholders will serve to inform the final Ministry-commissioned research document, being prepared by the FES.
  • Director for Policy and Research in the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Sharon Robinson, who also spoke at the forum, welcomed the Ministry’s decision to pursue gender mainstreaming within the climate change policy.

The Government has commenced work focusing on the extent to which climate change impacts genders and how these issues can be comprehensively addressed.

This undertaking is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, through the Climate Change Division (CCD), which is hosting stakeholder consultations in tandem with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (Foundation for Social Democracy – FES) based in Germany, and the South Centre in Geneva, Switzerland.

The consultations take the form of fora being staged under the theme ‘Supporting Gender Equitable Development – A Gender Analysis of the Climate Change Policy Framework’.

Central to the engagements are discussions on a draft Concept Paper developed by the FES, which presents a review and gender analysis of the policy framework.

It is anticipated that recommendations and suggestions emanating from the discussions involving a wide cross section of stakeholders will serve to inform the final Ministry-commissioned research document, being prepared by the FES.

The first of two stakeholder fora was held at the Alhambra Inn in Kingston on September 12, with the second slated for the Altamont West Hotel in Montego Bay on September 18.

Speaking at Tuesday’s forum, Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Lt. Colonel Oral Khan, noted that the policy framework, which was adopted in 2015, supports the Vision 2030 Jamaica National Development Plan’s target of reducing risks posed by climate change to the country’s sectors and development goals.

Additionally, he said the framework acknowledges that Jamaica’s vulnerability to the impact of climate change is worsened by social challenges, such as poverty.

The Chief Technical Director said against the background of the fact that women comprise 51 per cent of the population and that a significant percentage of households are headed by females, “the effect of climate change on females is a particular concern for us”.

Noting that gender, like climate change, is a cross-cutting issue, Lt. Col. Khan said the Ministry wants to ensure that “we have the necessary interconnectedness between gender and the goals and objectives of the climate change policy framework”.

In this regard, he welcomed the collaboration forged between the CCD and FES, pointing out that “the work of the Climate Change Division is executed through strong value-added partnerships”.

“We hope that as we get into the details of the policy framework, that we will find opportunities to highlight how the policy may be impacting differently on the genders and that we will come away… with some important conclusions,” Lt. Col. Khan said.

Director for Policy and Research in the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Sharon Robinson, who also spoke at the forum, welcomed the Ministry’s decision to pursue gender mainstreaming within the climate change policy.

“To the extent that the policy framework highlights the critical role of a gender analysis to climate change, it will undoubtedly redound to the benefit of all stakeholders and partners in keeping with our commitments under the (United Nations post-2015) Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.

For her part, Principal Director of the Climate Change Division, Una May Gordon, noted that the policy framework proposes the development of 12 sector strategies and action plans.

“Therefore, if we can look at this policy (in detail), then it will give us a lead-in to ensure that as we direct the development of the sector strategies and action plans, that they will be developed in a gender-responsive way,” she said.

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is a non-profit foundation funded by the German Government, which is headquartered in Bonn and Berlin.

This Foundation is involved in the development and consolidation of civil society and state structures, thus promoting democracy and social justice, strong and free trade unions, as well as advocacy for human rights and gender equality.

The South Centre is an intergovernmental organisation of developing nations. It was established by an Intergovernmental Treaty that came into force in July 1995.

It functions as an independent policy think tank, whilst also holding Observer status at the United Nations and other development agencies.

JIS Social