Gender, media and climate change

Gender, media and climate change

Date: November 16, 2011
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With less than a month to the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban, debates and discussions – abound about the outcome of the meeting. At the centre of these meetings are adaptation and mitigation measures to climate change and the Global Climate Change Fund. The Kyoto Protocol is another is another issue heavily featured in these “preliminary” meetings. The protocol is the only legal international agreement linked to the UNFCCC that sets targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Climatologists predict that developing nations will feel the climate change shocks more due to poverty and lack of adaptability measures among other reasons. In a 2008 United Nations Emerging Issues report, Eco-Watch Africa’s Rachel Nampinga noted that women constitute the majority (70% of the 1.3 billion people in the developing world) of the poor and are more dependent on natural resources. This means that poor women throughout Africa are in trouble.

Climatologists predict that due to climate change uncertainties, Africa in particular will be overwhelmed by the impacts of natural disasters such as cyclones, floods, droughts and disease. According to Eco-Watch Africa, sexual harassment and violence against women and girls in the aftermath of natural disasters is an enormous challenge. This means women will suffer both the effects of natural disasters and also the gender-based violence common in refugee camps or post-disaster situations. In addition, despite women being more reliant on resources, they have less access to them than men. This increases their vulnerability, limits their ability to cope with climate shocks and hinders their recovery from such shocks.  Click here for the  GL climate change policy brief.

Two GMDC partners, Gender Links and the African Woman and Child Feature Service will produce an online newspaper and stories during the conference. Click here for the concept note.  The Gender and Media Diversity Centre (GMDC) has organised a series of seminars to discuss the gender dimensions of climate change. The seminars which will begin this November will convene the academia, climate change experts, gender and climate change experts and other concerned individuals and organisation to discuss what climate change has to do with gender. “Understanding climate change with a gender perspective” is the first topic for this month’s seminar while as “what does gender got to do with climate change adaptation and mitigation processes/measures” is the topic of discussion for the month of December. The last but not least seminar will see participants discussing “gender and global climate fund”.

For more information on the debates, you can email the GMDC Officer: or call 27 (0) 622 2877.

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