Monday, February 26, 2024

Shift of focus in climate change debate inevitable to secure safe future

The State of the World Population 2009 Report published by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and released on 18 November 2009 has revealed that issues relating to gender, family planning and reproductive and health care could occupy a defining mode in the future course of climate change and determine how humanity adapts to natural calamities.

On that score, the report states that if governments, national policies and international agreements are to have any meaningful effect, they must be seen to take into account population dynamics, the relations between sexes and women’s well-being and access to services and opportunities.

“The climate debate of the future must take into account the human and gender dimensions of every aspect of the problem,” said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of the UNFPA, in a preface to the report.

It was pointed out by the report, for example, that slower population growth would build social resilience to climate change’s impacts and contribute to a reduction of greenhouse emissions in the future.

Apparently, the present discourse tended for most of the time to revolve around countries’ relative responsibilities for limiting the growth of greenhouse gas emissions and for funding efforts to shift to low-carbon energy and other technologies.

Obaid highlighted in a preface to the UN agency’s report, that as much as questions pertaining to financial responsibility for initiatives to mitigate for the adverse implications of climate change are critical, it is even more fundamental, “how climate change will affect women, men, boys and girls differently around the world and indeed within nations.”

Reference was also made to the significance of the role Individual behavior could have in undermining or contributing to the global effort to cool our “warming world.”

This comes only a few weeks ahead of the 15th December 2009 Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Copenhagen.

It is expected, according to the UNFPA Executive Director, that any treaty emerging at the Copenhagen gathering, “That will help people to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and adapt to climate change by harnessing the insight and creativity of women and men would launch a genuinely effective long term global strategy to deal with climate change”.

Notwithstanding the UN report, there are concerns that Botswana Government’s initiative and commitment to empowering is uncertain given her continued refusal to append their signature to the SADC Gender and development protocol recently.

To the extent that some even feel that the country’s rating as an “early achiever” in terms of gender equality according to the African Economic Outlook report, was fraudulent, “because for as long as the country failed in the rest of the other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) it does not make sense for us to pride ourselves for the 2 out of 7 points scored,” lamented Maungo Mooki, a Women activist with a prominent role in the Botswana Council of Non Governmental Organizations.


Read this week's paper