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Enhancing Women's Leadership to Address the Challenges of Climate Change on Nutrition Security and Health

November 29, 2011 | Cristina Tirado | Climate Health Connect

Women serve as agents of social change and development, through their unique roles in the family and child care, agricultural labor, food and nutrition security, health, and disaster risk reduction. However women are poorly represented in consultation and decision-making processes for the development of climate change adaptation strategies--at the local, national and global levels. Promoting their engagement and leadership is critical to addressing climate change in equitable, healthy, and sustainable ways.

Current climate change policies and strategies tend to inadequately address the needs of women and children, particularly in the contexts of nutrition, food security and health. Integrating women's empowerment as well as food and nutrition security and health in adaptation strategies and resilient development is urgently needed to ensure the well-being of communities under a changing climate. Yet the issues of climate change adaptation, global health, women's empowerment, nutrition and food security continue to be addressed in siloed approaches.

Recognizing that these issues should be addressed in an integrated way, the Center for Public Health and Climate Change at the Public Health Institute (PHI), the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) and Action Against Hunger (ACF) have prepared a document, Enhancing women's leadership to address the challenges of climate change on nutrition security and health. The document provides key messages and identifies successful strategies for addressing the challenges that climate change poses to nutrition security and health, and to promote women's engagement and leadership in adaptation planning and decision-making to ensure that these are gender, as well as nutrition and health sensitive.

The document was released at the high level event, "Nutriton and Climate Change: Making the connection to enhance livelihood resilience, health and women's empowerment" sponsored and facilitated by PHI, WFP, UNSCN and ACF at the African Pavilion on December 4th at the COP17 in Durban.

Cristina Tirado is director of PHI's Center for Public Health and Climate Change. For more information visit www.climatehealthconnect.org