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State Minister calls for gender equality

Bangladesh State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nessa Indira calls for sincere commitments and urgent actions to fight climate change and ensure a gender-equal sustainable world.

She said this while delivering country statement at the 66th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) held at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday night.

The theme of this year’s CSW-66 general debate is ‘Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.’ The State-Minister led a 5-member delegation with the representatives from Ministry of Women & Children Affairs, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to the session.

The State-Minister paid tribute to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for ensuring women’s equal rights in our constitution.

She shed lights on the climate vulnerability and disaster risks in Bangladesh and highlighted its disproportionate impacts on women and girls. She stated that Bangladesh ranks 7th in the global climate Risk Index 2021, although our contribution to global emissions is less than 0.47%.

“In COP-26 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, as leader of the 55-member climate vulnerable forum stressed on ensuring financing for survival of the most vulnerable countries from adverse impacts of climate change, where women are the worst victims,” she added. In her statement, the State-Minister enumerated various government policies, laws, and actions aimed at ensuring gender-responsive climate action, adaptation, mitigation and disaster risk reduction. In this regard she referred to Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2009, Climate Change Trust Fund Act 2010, The National Women Development Policy 2011, Climate Change and gender Action Plan 2013, National Plan for Disaster Management 2021-2025, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 integrate DRR, Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP), Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan Decade 2030, The Perspective Plan 2041, The Delta Plan 2100, Mujib Killa (cyclone shelter), etc.

She also mentioned about gender-responsive & climate budget, gender-responsive coastal adaptation (GCA) project, Social Forestry Programme, National Resilience Programme and other initiatives for enhancing adaptive capacity and resilience of women in climate vulnerable areas. She also referred to the inclusion of 38,000 women volunteers in the ‘cyclone preparedness programme’ which has received UN’s Public Service Award 2021 for ensuring gender equality in disaster risk reduction.

“These projects will strengthen capacity of women and girls to act as whistle blowers before calamities, protect assets, diversify livelihood, relief and rehabilitation activities”, said the State-minister.

The state minister called for ensuring financial, technical and technological resources to help the climate vulnerable countries overcome the challenges faced by women and girls.  She also emphasized that ‘Principle of Equity’ and ‘Gender-Climate Justice’ should be introduced in every national and international development policies.

On the sideline of the debate, she held a bilateral meeting with the Women and Youth Minister of Burundi. They exchanged views of various initiative to promote women’s economic empowerment and expressed hope to share good practices between the two countries.