Nairobi, 17 November 2006
Delivered by Ms Annabell Waititu, on behalf of genanet/LIFE e.V. and women gather at COP12
Mr. President, distinguished delegates:
Let me tell you about my village in Nyeri in the Central Province of Kenya. Here, women are responsible for agricultural production in terms of household use. While women’s farming secures the food for the families, men are more engaged in commercial farming. Nowadays, our farmers can no longer plan when to start their planting because the rains are increasingly delayed. They can only plant when the rain begins. When they plant, the rain may stop suddenly, causing loss of seeds or production failure. Unfortunately, the farmers don’t know that the changes in weather patterns are related to climate change. Relevant information is not available to them so that they can make an informed decision on what to plant when, and secure a good harvest.
Women and men fulfil different roles in their families and societies. Their situation differs with regard to economic sectors, income, and property ownership. Women constitute the majority of the world’s poor, and are often more dependent on natural resources. Moreover, women and men impact the climate differently. And they are differently affected by climate change. They can play specific roles in mitigation. And they have particular needs, and specific contributions to make to adaptation.
We are concerned that gender issues, women’s needs, interests and aspirations are not included in the discussions here. After all, Climate Change is a sustainable development challenge.
Take adaptation: Adaptation programmes need to acknowledge the different capacity of men and women to cope with climate change. It is particularly important to ensure women’s participation in developing adaptation programmes. Gender analysis should be integrated into National Adaptation Plans. Women should have an equal say in how resources for adaptation are spent at the national level.
Take capacity building: Capacity building programmes should educate girls and boys, women and men about climate change, enabling them to adapt. However, many programmes are not target-group specific, ignoring the fact that women and men use different channels to share information. In their design and rollout, these campaigns should draw on priorities put forward by women and local communities. Information needs to reach women, particularly rural women who are remote from the cities and information and technologies.
Finally, let’s talk about market-based mechanisms: They marginalize those who do not have the cash to buy their water, fuel wood and medicines. The monetary poor include women, Indigenous Peoples, and landless farmers. These people also lack formal land titles, marketing skills, investment capital and information they would need if the they wished to compete in environmental services markets. Therefore, all market-based approaches need a careful analysis of positive and negative effects on all potential market actors. This cannot necessarily be done at the national level but may require context-specific analysis at the local level.
Distinguished delegates, we need information, technology transfer, and resources – particularly for women, especially in Africa. Without that, we will not have effective climate protection, we will not have sustainable development, we will not have justice.
Therefore, we call for a creative and integrated approach to climate change policy. If you are lacking in ideas, women are prepared to contribute!