HRC48: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development

September 21, 2021 Website Cover (21)

This oral intervention was broadcasted at the 48th Session of the Human Rights Council Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development. Watch a video of the intervention here.

Distinguished Delegates and Special Rapporteur,

I am Deepa Chandra and I am making this statement on behalf of the Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW) and partners from Asia and the Pacific region.

We welcome your report especially the recommendations that stresses on the need for a human rights approach when looking at climate action and disaster risk reduction and establishing measures to ensure women’s meaningful and sustained participation and as decision-makers in the development process, to ensure that “no one is left behind”.

Women and girls in all their diversities including indigenous peoples, internally displaced persons, persons with disabilities and women in vulnerable situations, those with limited financial means, poor education, limited access to technology and other resources are disproportionately affected by climate change, and oftentimes excluded in decision-making processes and discourses on climate change. These disproportionate impacts are a manifestation of gender inequality and are exacerbated during climate change-related disasters. It is essential that responses to climate change are inclusive of the communities most affected.

We agree with the special rapporteur that the effects of climate change are not limited to environmental or economic issues as the enjoyment of the rights to health care, which also includes sexual and reproductive health is impacted. ARROW’s studies in multiple countries in Asia have shown that sexual and reproductive health and rights gets further deteriorated due to deprioritisation in the context of humanitarian crisis. It is integral to have bodily autonomy and access to sexual and reproductive health services to achieve gender equality and build climate-resilient societies.

We support the call for Governments to continuously promote participation of all relevant stakeholders, especially the most disadvantaged and marginalised, at all stages and processes as their lack of involvement will result in ineffective solutions. While we welcome some positive and inclusive actions of a few governments, we cannot ignore the concerns raised such as the suppression of rights of indigenous, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people, people with disabilities and minorities, in addition to the environmental destruction from development projects.

We therefore call on states to take the following measures to address the issues on the nexus between climate change, gender and sexual and reproductive health and rights and implement more innovative, inclusive and gender responsive solutions.

Our recommendations are:

  • Inclusive and meaningful participation of most affected and marginalised communities in decisions related to climate change at all levels, with sensitivity towards their special needs.
  • Uphold sexual and reproductive health and rights and acknowledge its co-benefits in contributing to climate adaptation, mitigation, impact reduction and resilience to fulfil the SDG commitments.
  • Building capacities of CSOs to collect data using innovative solutions on the interlinkages of climate change and gender that is currently almost non-existent in Asia and across the This should also include access to resources including funding.
  • Ensure the protection and welfare of human, environmental rights/climate justice defenders whose lives are often at risk.
  • Ensure the implementation of the Gender Action Plan that is adopted in the Paris Agreement, simultaneously with all other internationally agreed outcomes such as the Beijing Platform for Action and International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

Thank you.

This statement is fully endorsed by ARROW partners:

  1. Green Circle Organization, Pakistan
  2. Centre for Social Policy Development (CSPD), Pakistan
  3. Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), Philippines

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