Regional meet stresses need for gender-friendly DRR policy

Kathmandu, November 30

The three-day South Asia Peer Learning Regional consultation meeting concluded today with unanimous agreement on the critical need to engage women’s groups in decision-making to effectively design, implement and monitor gender-responsive disaster risk reduction policies and programmes across the humanitarian-development continuum.

The consultation was organised jointly by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and UN Women, the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, in collaboration with women’s groups.

Addressing the consultation, Bishnu Prasad Lamsal, secretary at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, said, “The Government of Nepal has initiated discussion on localising the Sendai Framework for Action to create a space for mainstreaming gender equality and women’s empowerment concerns in the national Disaster Risk Reduction programme.”

Lamsal further added that the government was committed to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He said the forthcoming Disaster Management Bill will ensure collection and use of data disaggregated by sex, age and other factors, and women’s representation and leadership at all levels for building community resilience.

Wenny Kusuma, a representative of UN Women Nepal, said, “This regional consultation is an important step to ensure that women’s leadership, voice and agency remain at the forefront of actions to reduce and respond to disaster risks, and that women are recognised as agents of change in future disaster risk reduction actions.”

She further explained that policies and international frameworks to address the needs of women in disasters were well-developed. “Now is the time to translate the commitments made by the government into action,” she added.

Similarly, Sophie Kemkhadze, UNDP country director, highlighted the importance of gender-responsive disaster risk reduction, and its inherent linkages with human development and sustainable growth.

She said the concurrent agreements on the Sendai Framework for DRR and the Sustainable Development Goals provide us with a unique opportunity to galvanise global actions to achieve human development.

“Given Nepal’s higher susceptibility and vulnerabilities associated with climate change and disasters, it is very important that all our development policies and programmes fully integrate aspects of DRR and gender equality. This is key to building a more resilient Nepal,” she said.

On behalf of the Women’s Core Group, a network of women leaders from civil society organisations, Chandni Joshi, said, “Nothing can be more powerful than peer learning.

This peer learning consultation has been a stepping stone to ensure that the voices, needs and concerns of the rural women are considered at all levels of governance and their role in decision-making is strengthened.

I propose UN Women to facilitate building a network of women’s group across the South Asia region to ensure sharing of experiences and lessons learnt as well as to foster joint advocacy on women’s leadership and participation.”