Kenya is committed to advancing gender equality to be at the centre of solutions on climate change, environment and initiatives aimed at reducing disaster risks.
Ministry of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes Cabinet Secretary, Margaret Kobia, said climate change poses a threat to the planet, and noted that Kenya is already experiencing climate change effects, citing the rising lakes and drought which is causing devastation to lives and livelihoods.
The CS who was speaking at the 66th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) in New York, United States of America, said Climate change has had an impact on women and girls in Kenya, a need that calls for scaling up interventions to mitigate the adverse effects.
This year’s session’s theme ‘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’ focuses on accelerating action on climate change using a gender lens.
“While everyone is threatened by the impact of climate change, it is the world’s poorest and those in vulnerable situations, especially women and girls, who bear the brunt of climate-related socio-economic issues,” she said.
Prof Kobia who was presenting the Kenya’s statement at the Session said the country boasts of being among the first African countries to mainstream gender in legislation and policies on climate change interventions.
She said the constitutional provisions on gender equality covers all sectors impacted by climate change.
Some of the interventions on climate change that were highlighted in the country statement include a commitment to spending USD 62 billion in 2020 to aid the implementation of the climate change response strategy, developing a robust architecture of climate change legislation, policies as well as sectoral plans and strategies to address the challenges of climate change.
Others are establishment of a climate change directorate to coordinate and provide technical assistance on climate change actions and responses, the establishment of a climate-smart agriculture strategy to drive sustainable agricultural development for food and nutrition security.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guteres described the climate and environmental crisis, which is coupled with economic and Covid-19 pandemic, as a defining issues of time that need collective response to chart the way forward for the future.
The Secretary-General said according to research, whenever climate disasters strikes women and children are up to 14 times more likely to die than men.
Guteres said “Everywhere, women and girls face the greatest threats and the deepest harm,” adding that even though women take action to confront climate and environmental crisis, they continue to be largely excluded from the rooms where decisions are taken.
The UN Chief called upon the Commission to take action and put women at the centre of decision making on issues touching on climate change.
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Since 1946, the UN through UN Women hosts an annual session of CSW at the UN Headquarters in New York.
By Brian Kochwa