According to the 2016 World Risk Report, 10 out of the 15 most at risk countries to climate change and disasters are in Asia and the Pacific. The region combines high exposure to frequent and damaging natural hazards with a low capacity to manage the resulting risks.
Climate change and climate-induced disasters remain the largest threat to the achievement of global sustainable development today. When disasters hit, often women and girls face secondary negative impacts such as gender-based violence, forced marriage and human trafficking.
The capacities, skills, and resources that women, girls and other diverse groups possess in effectively addressing climate change often go untapped due to stereotypes. The devaluation of their knowledge results in their exclusion from decision-making at household and community level.
The time is now to give a platform for women and marginalized groups to use their voices, agency and leadership and collaborate with men to build resilience and secure sustainable development. In this context, UN Women and UN Environment jointly initiated the EmPower project, with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
Between 2018 and 2022, the programme will focus on Bangladesh, Cambodia and Vietnam, along with many governmental, non-governmental and civil society organization partners, towards five goals.
Encourage women and marginalized groups to participate in the decision-making process
Generate, analyse and use sex, age, and diversity disaggregated data to inform policy.
Improve gender responsiveness in climate and disaster risk reduction policies
Enable women to use renewable energy as economic resources for resilient livelihoods
Improve regional mechanism, processes and knowledge on climate change and disaster risk reduction to include gender and human rights
At the regional level, EmPower will partner with regional organizations and CSOs to foster greater awareness and collaboration for gender equality, climate change, and DRR-related policies and programmes. By facilitating dialogues, leveraging existing platforms, building greater evidence on the links between these themes, EmPower will seeks to influence regional decision-making, strengthen gender-responsive climate and DRR policies and decisions and promote a greater exchange of innovative solutions that women, men and marginalized groups can lead in the region.