Pakistan highlights Women’s role in fighting climate change at UN
Nilofar Bakhtiar, chairperson of the National Commission on Status of Women, said that women can play a major role in averting the climate crisis
NEW YORK, Despite women being disproportionately affected by climate change, they play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation, distinguished speakers told an event organized by the Pakistan Mission to the UN on the sidelines of the 66th Session of Commission on Status of Women (CSW).
In her keynote address at the event on the subject of ‘Climate Change and Women: Impacts, Challenges and Opportunities (Pakistan’s Experience)’, Nilofar Bakhtiar, chairperson of the National Commission on Status of Women, said that women can play a major role in averting the climate crisis.
The side-event was moderated by Ambassador Aamir Khan, Pakistan’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, who opened the proceedings by pointing out that Pakistan, as one of the most affected countries by climate change, ranked as the fifth most climate vulnerable nation in the world – triggering 90% of natural disasters over the past two decades.
Citing the Global Climate Risk Index, he said, between 1998 and 2018, Pakistan is estimated to have lost nearly 10,000 lives to climate-related disasters, and on the economic front, the country incurred losses worth billions of dollars.
Pakistani women, Ambassador Khan said have played critical role in fight against climate change through strong activism and practical actions including actively taking part in plantation drives.
Some experts also participated in the side-event.
In her remarks, Ms. Bakhtiar said out of 1.5 billion poor in the world, almost 70% are women; They produce 50-70% of world food, but as far as ownership of land is concerned, they own only 10%.
In urban areas throughout the world, she said the households which are headed by women, 40% of them are poorest of the poor.
“We need to act immediately,” the Pakistan delegate said.
After every disaster 80% of those directly affected are women, she said pointing out that they care, make food, collect fuel, nurture. “They are the one who worry about the future! They are visionaries! Yet, they are not being used at the policy level.
“This needs to be changed,” Ms. Bakhtiar added.
In Pakistan, she said, under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s leadership funds have been allocated to fight climate change and the ministry concerned and the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) have come up with a Gender Action plan, which will be launched soon.
Climate change cannot be faced without women, the Pakistani delegate said. “We need to unleash their talent and potential,” she said, adding, “We know what tragedies they face during disasters”, referring specially to Pakistani women.
“Yet they start each day with a new hope, because women of Pakistan are resilient, hard working and very strong,” Ms. Bakhtiar said.
In a video message screened at the event, Pakistan UN Ambassador Munir Akram said that Pakistan faced multiple environmental losses — deforestation, biodiversity loss, air pollution, lack of access to safe drinking water and climate change. Average annual temperature in Pakistan had increased by 0.6 degree Celsius during the last century.