‘Abuse, Vi­o­lence of Women And Children Rise Dur­ing Dis­as­ters’

Fiji Sun - - Nation - SHALVEEN CHAND Edited by Percy Kean [email protected]­jisun.com.fj

Complaints of abuse and vi­o­lence against women and children dur­ing Cy­clone Win­ston was three times higher than com­bined dis­as­ters be­tween 2013 and 2015.

Dur­ing the Fiji Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, Min­is­ter for Women, Poverty Al­le­vi­a­tion and Social Wel­fare Mere­seini Vu­ni­waqa high­lighted this and how women and children were af­fected as a re­sult of cli­mate change.

“It is well estab­lished that cli­mate change has a greater im­pact on those sec­tions of the pop­u­la­tion that are most vul­ner­a­ble, whether in de­vel­oped or developing coun­tries and it ex­ac­er­bates ex­ist­ing

in­equal­i­ties,” she said.

“The ef­fects of cli­mate change also place women and girls at greater risks for bod­ily in­jury, rape and ha­rass­ment when they must travel fur­ther and fur­ther away from home to se­cure house­hold drinking wa­ter, fuel and food.”

Mrs Vu­ni­waqa said the tra­jec­tory to­wards gen­der sen­si­tive and gen­der eq­ui­table cli­mate gover­nance pol­icy, in­cluded adap­ta­tion and mit­i­ga­tion pol­icy.

It in­volves developing ac­tiv­i­ties such as im­prov­ing women’s role in cli­mate gover­nance, through gen­der bal­ance in rep­re­sen­ta­tion and im­proved ca­pac­ity build­ing for cli­mate ne­go­ti­a­tions for women.

“Poorly de­signed poli­cies could eas­ily un­der­mine gen­der equal­ity, cli­mate and health eq­uity goals and re­duce pub­lic sup­port for their im­ple­men­ta­tion an es­sen­tial as­pect for achiev­ing health eq­uity,” Ms Vu­ni­waqa said.

“And cli­mate goals is there­fore a com­mit­ment to in­ter-sec­toral ac­tion to achieve health eq­uity and cli­mate change in all poli­cies. “Mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures bring­ing about so­ci­etal benefits should be pri­ori­tised and health is one of the clear­est of the so­ci­etal benefits. “Mea­sures un­der­taken to re­duce green­house gas emissions in the house­hold en­ergy, trans­port, food and agri­cul­ture, and elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion sec­tors, in both lowand high-in­come set­tings, can have an­cil­lary health benefits which are of­ten substantia­l.”

Par­tic­i­pants of the 61st Fiji Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence at the Pearl Re­sort at Pa­cific Har­bour on Septem­ber 7, 2019.

Photo: Min­istry of Health

From left: Min­is­ter for Women, Poverty Al­le­vi­a­tion and Social Wel­fare Mere­seini Vu­ni­waqa, Min­is­ter for In­fra­struc­ture, Trans­port, Dis­as­ter Management and Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Ser­vices Jone Usa­mate, Min­is­ter for De­fence, Na­tional Se­cu­rity and For­eign Af­fairs Inia Seruiratu and Min­is­ter for Health and Med­i­cal Ser­vices Dr Ifer­eimi Waqain­a­bete at the Pearl Re­sort at Pa­cific Har­bour on Septem­ber 7, 2019.

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