Senator Loren Legarda today said that women and girls, who make up 52% of the world's population, are no longer mere victims of disasters, but are now effective agents in making communities disaster-resilient.
Legarda, the United Nations Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, said that the 2012 International Day for Disaster Reduction, with the theme "Women andGirls - The [in]Visible Force of Resilience", aims to celebrate the often unnoticed but immense contributions of women and girls in building disaster-resilient communities.
"Despite bearing the brunt of disasters, women have been silently and effectively at the frontline of disaster prevention and climate change adaptation efforts," she stressed.
The Senator cited Wangari Maathai, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 2004, who founded the Green Belt Movement, which has planted over 51 million trees in Kenya and empowered communities, especially women and girls, to promote environmental protection at the grassroots level.
Meanwhile, in the country, group of women farmers in Montalban, Rizal started to practice agroforestry to adapt to the prolonged wet season, while a group of women fisherfolk in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur reforested over a hundred hectares of mangrove areas to protect their settlements from storm surges and secure an additional source of food for their families.
"We must invest in women, make them part of decision-making, as their development role is crucial in adapting to climate change and building community resilience to disasters," she said.
"Let us create meaningful opportunities for women's participation and leadership. Let us recognize and empower women, who are agents of solutions, indispensable holders of valuable knowledge and skills, and able leaders from community to global level," Legarda concluded.
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