The Conference aims to review the progress made and challenges faced in mainstreaming gender perspectives into disaster risk reduction. Special consideration will be given to issues related to climate change adaptation, poverty reduction and community resilience Expected Result: The Beijing Declaration for Action, which will be a set of priorities for mainstreaming gender into disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation Level of participation: Ministers, Parliamentarians and Senior Officials responsible for issues related to gender, disaster risk reduction or development.
In recent years, different parts of the world have experienced an increased impact of disasters, which have taken lives, destroyed livelihoods and damaged socio-economic development. The trends in increasing disasters and disaster losses have clearly challenged the limited capacity of the national and international communities to respond to the needs of disaster-affected populations. Today, a large number of people are still feeling the pain and suffering from past disasters, such as the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, Cyclone Nargis in 2008, Africa drought in 2006, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.
To prevent the loss of lives and protect socio-economic development, a growing number of international bodies, governments, academics, and civil society organizations are searching for ways to reduce people’s vulnerabilities to disasters. At the 2005 World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR), 168 governments from around the world
adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), which aims to build the resilience of nations and communities to disasters by 2015. In order to implement the HFA, the UN has increased its leadership in disaster risk reduction through enhanced coordination. 126 governments have designated official focal points for the HFA. Some 46 countries have established multi-stakeholder national platforms.
The ISDR System and Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction have become the main vehicles to keep the momentum gained in disaster risk reduction going. Most governments have submitted their second national reports on progress made in their country in implementing the HFA. These reports will be used as an input to preparations for the second session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction to be held in Geneva during the week of 15-19 June 2009.
Recently, gender perspectives have received more attention from various stakeholders due to consistent global advocacy and awareness-raising efforts that highlighted the importance of gender equality in disaster risk reduction. The relationship between disaster risk reduction and gender issues became apparent during the first session of the Global
Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Since that time, gender perspectives have been incorporated into the two major UN publications related to the HFA: Words into Action and the Global Report on Disaster Risk Reduction.
However, progress in mainstreaming gender perspectives into disaster risk reduction remains inadequate. Gender considerations are still largely marginalized from the disaster
risk reduction process. Based on information provided in national reports on disaster risk reduction, such marginalization of women is especially true at the national level. In daily
realities, women are key victims as well as resilient forces to natural disasters.
However, in disaster management and actions, women’s voices are lost or inadequately addressed. In disaster reduction strategies and actions, women and gender equality issues are marginalized, leading to ineffective relief, rise in violations of women’s rights including violence against women, and compromises in results of disaster reduction activities.
Unfortunately, women are more likely to be regarded as a vulnerable group, rather than as leaders and contributors to building disaster resilience at national and local levels. Both gender and disaster risk reduction are cross-cutting development issues. To achieve sustainable development, it is a win-win option for governments and other stakeholders to mainstream gender perspectives into DRR and vice versa. This will not only contribute to making nations and communities more resilient to disasters, but also help address gender inequality in a comprehensive manner by promoting gender equality in the political, social, technical, developmental and humanitarian aspects of disaster risk reduction.
In addition to political commitment, the successful mainstreaming of gender perspectives into disaster risk reduction requires good understanding and capacity of both issues.
However, the widespread lack of understanding, political accountability and capacity on gender and disaster risk reduction poses great challenges to the national governments and
international community to mainstream gender perspectives in disaster risk reduction.
- To review the progress made and challenges faced in mainstreaming gender in disaster risk reduction;
- To share knowledge, experiences and good practices in gender and disaster risk reduction;
- To discuss the major issues related to linking disaster risk reduction with poverty reduction, climate change adaptation, community development and policy making from gender perspectives;
- To recommend actions needed to mainstream gender into disaster risk reduction process by the end Hyogo Framework for Action in 2015.
Governments, UN agencies, International Organizations, Academics and Civil Society
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