Women powerful agents of change: Zahid Hamid


ISLAMABAD, Nov 17 (APP): Federal Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid has said that Pakistan has taken affirmative action to ensure women’s participation and decision-making in policy and decision-making process.
According to a message recieved at a special event organized on “Women Leaders and the Global transformation Summit at COP-22 at Morocco, the minister said,”The subject of this summit is of great interest to Pakistan because of the importance of the role of women in ensuring effectiveness of measures to combat the adverse impacts of climate change”.
Women participation in not an option but a strategic necessity, he remarked in the summit that witnessed a large number of female participation.
Pakistan today faces several major risks related to climate change including glacial melts, variable monsoons, recurrent floods, sea intrusion, and higher average temperatures and higher frequency of droughts. Millions of people have been affected and colossal damage has been caused on recurring basis, the minister said.
“These threats pose major survival concerns for Pakistan, particularly in relation to the country’s water security, food security and energy security and have adverse consequence, he said.
A historic Pakistan Climate Change Bill, he said, would be introduced in Parliament next week that would establish a high-level, policy-making Pakistan Climate Change Council, along with the Pakistan Climate Change Authority, to prepare and supervise implementation of adaptation and mitigation projects in various sector.
“The government of Pakistan is fully aware that women are powerful agents of change and it is therefore vital to ensure participation of women and female gender experts in all policies, initiatives and decision relating to climate change”, he said.
“Our experience during the massive floods of 2010 and 2011 which caused colossal damage and left millions homeless, was that women suffer much more than men from the severe impacts of such natural disasters, including shortage of clean water for drinking, personal hygiene and cooking, lack of food, diarrheal and water borne diseases. They may also suffer from severe psychological problems such as depression”, he pointed out.
Government policies, he said must be designed to facilitate the development of women leaders who will prepare communities, especially the women, for enhanced and efficient natural resource management, particularly food security, clean water source, and access to health care service and secure the close links between sustainable development and climate resilience. Seats have been reserved for women in parliament, provincial assemblies and local governments” for their adequate representation in law3 and policy making fora, he added.
“Women parliamentarians have spearheaded the significant laws for gender equality, removal of discriminatory practice and barriers to empowerment, protection from harassment at the work place, securing inheritance rights, contesting and participation in elections, among many others”, Zahid Hamid said.
“The need of half the world’s population cannot be neglected, nor their potential in innovative solutions be ignored. Their key role, the care economy and social reproduction that sustains families and communities demand that they be fully integrated in mitigation and adaptation initiatives at all levels.”