UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.
The physical impacts of climate change and natural hazards are compounding structural inequalities and socioeconomic vulnerabilities since gender equality and human rights are not given enough consideration required for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and in disaster risk, recovery and response within the Caribbean Region.
Natural hazards and climate change severely affect the ability of SIDS to achieve sustainable development. SIDS are located in some of the most disaster-prone regions in the world and comprise two-thirds of countries with the highest relative annual losses due to disasters. With the effects of climate change compounding the intensity of these disasters and affecting Small Island Developing States (SIDS) disproportionately, this trend is set to continue, creating new developmental challenges for SIDS.
Disasters affect women, girls, boys and men differently. Research shows that women and girls are disproportionally affected by disasters, are more likely to die in disasters, and have different and uneven levels of resilience and capacity to recover.
Gender inequality heightens exposure to risk, increases vulnerability and restrains capacity. It shapes women’s and girls’ uneven capacity to anticipate, adapt, and recover from disasters and to contribute effectively to resilience building. Gender-specific barriers in prevention, preparedness and response prevent women and girls from acquiring and accessing the means and capacities needed for resilience, which causes women’s higher loss of lives and livelihoods in disasters and often results in a gendered downward spiral of vulnerability and poverty following disasters. This leaves women and girls disproportionately vulnerable to future natural hazards. In addition, women and girls remain largely ignored and their potential and capacities unleveraged in conventional resilience building processes. To build the resilience of women and girls, a comprehensive approach is needed that specifically targets the resilience of women and girls while ensuring in parallel a gender-responsive systems approach across the prevention, preparedness and response spectrum.
UN Women has a comprehensive approach to gender responsive resilience, including advocacy, technical support and capacity strengthening and innovative programme implementation to fully integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment into climate resilience and disaster risk reduction in the Caribbean. This includes collaboration on the UNDP led EnGenDER programme, which seeks to further integrate gender equality and human-rights based approaches into disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate change (CC) adaptation and environmental management frameworks and interventions to identify and address the gaps to ensure equal access to DRR and climate change and environment solutions for men, women, boys and girls.