Africa: Saving African women from Climate Change

Africa: Saving African women from Climate Change

Date: December 16, 2011
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Rita is a farmer in a village in the northern part of Ghana in West Africa where she grows food crops to feed herself and her six children. She started farming four decades ago when she inherited her farm from her father at age 15.

Over the years, she has been able to produce enough to feed her family and sell the rest to ensure that all her six children have quality education. Today, her world seems to be ending as over the last twenty years her farm has become unable to produce enough to sustain her family.

The problem she is facing is what environmentalists’ term climate change that is threatening people’s lives and livelihoods, according to Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC at the opening ceremony of COP17 in Durban South Africa.

Rita is not alone, as climate change has made millions of women across the globe, especially in Africa, vulnerable to increasing their poverty and dependency levels.

On the fringes of COP17, Gotelind Alber of gender cc (Women for Climate Justice) a gender based non-governmental organisation based in Germany, who after chairing a meeting of women and gender non-governmental organisations said “general expectations for the conference are not high because the process has been difficult” for gender groups.

She said, however, that women’s groups were hoping to at least move forward women and gender issues in the negotiating process at the COP17 conference where an important issue is the Green Climate Fund. Alber said it was important for women to benefit from the fund. She intimated that this fund when operational would help support women to deal positively with the impact of climate change, saying that there is the need to ensure that there were special provisions for women to benefit from the fund.

She said, “If we are successful in bringing in gender language and gender provisions in accessing the Green Climate Fund, it will also depend on the ambitious nature of the overall results of the conference”.

Alber pointed out that it was not money alone that would do the trick, she hoped that industrialised countries would heed the Kyoto Protocol and agree to ambitious commitments.

Climate change mostly affect women especially in the area of sanitation, flooding, drought and food security and in many parts of Africa climate change threatens to unravel women’s lives as especially, women in rural areas lack knowledge about the imminent dangers posed by climate change.

Source: GL Opinion and Commentary Service

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