ARROW, Huvadhoo Aid (Maldives), PATH Foundation (Philippines), Penita Initiative (Malaysia), University of Health Sciences (Lao PDR), Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (Nepal), and Yayasan Jurnal Perempuan (Indonesia) have released a statement during COP23, calling for the prioritisation of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in countries’ climate change strategies and budgets. Read the full statement below, or read the PDF version here.
Accelerate Climate Action – Making the Paris Agreement Work for Women!
Statement by the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW), Huvadhoo Aid (Maldives), PATH Foundation (Philippines), Penita Initiative (Malaysia), University of Health Sciences (Lao PDR), Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (Nepal), and Yayasan Jurnal Perempuan (Indonesia).
The landmark Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016. As of now, 169 of the 197 Parties to the Convention have ratified the Agreement; indicating their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to curb the rising global average temperature to well below 2⁰C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to reduce the average temperature even further to 1.5⁰ above pre-industrial levels.[i]
We applaud the Paris Agreement with its central reference to human rights and the much-needed emphasis on right to health in climate actions. Among other things, the Agreement also acknowledges the “rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations…as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity.”[ii]
The Asia-Pacific region is prone to climate extreme events which has become more frequent and intense in recent years. For instance, the cyclone in Bangladesh and Pakistan, drought in India and Nepal, floods in Sri Lanka, Maldives, and island countries across the Pacific.
Women and girls are disproportionately affected compared to men and boys. ARROW and our partners working on exploring the interlinkages between women’s health, in particular sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in Asia,[iii] found that poor and marginalized women are most vulnerable to impacts of climate change. SRHR is often neglected in the context of climate change and humanitarian responses. SRHR is not incorporated into most countries’ National Climate Change Policies and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs)/National Adaptation Programmes of Actions (NAPAs).
Here at COP23, we urge our Asia Pacific Parties to keep people at the centre of their negotiations. In order to build societies resilient to climate change it is crucial to safeguard the health and rights of its people, especially women and girls. There is an urgent need that women’s and girls’ health, especially SRHR is prioritised in countries’ NAPs/NAPAs as well as other climate change policies, strategies, and budget.
Hence, we call the Parties to:
[i] UNFCCC. (2015).Adoption of the Paris Agreement. Conference of the Parties, 21st session, 30 November to 11 December 2015, Paris.
[ii] UNFCCC. (2015). Adoption of the Paris Agreement. Conference of the Parties, 21st session, 30