Climate Change, MDGs and Gender In India

Mapping Vulnerabilities Caused By Global Warming
Being the Change In Times of Climate Change

Climate change has emerged as the single most important crisis of our times. Global warming and climate change are expected to impact upon the capacities of countries like India to achieve its international commitments vis--vis the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This is especially so, since it is the poor - and particularly poor women - who are the most vulnerable to the impacts and effects of climate change. Not only does climate change impact Goal 7 - "Ensure environmental sustainability" - it has a direct bearing on Goal 1 - "Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger".

Climate change will test the capacity of countries like India to deliver on social justice, gender equity/equality and human rights. As UNDP'S Human Development Report 2007/2008 argues, "It challenges us to think differently. It challenges us to think about what it would mean to live as part of an ecologically inter-dependent world." The Report also observes that "high levels of poverty and low levels of human development limit the capacity of poor households to manage climate risks".

Climate change also heightens the destructive potential of disasters and increases the vulnerability of people, especially women and children, to their consequences. As principal water and food providers, as well as care-givers to their families, women are also more directly dependent on natural resources and pay a disproportionate price for being deprived of access to them.

It follows from this that women are central to the success of any measure, intervention, facility or policy meant to address climate change. It is against this background that Women's Features Service is generating features on the subject of 'Climate Change, MDGs and Gender In India' on a fortnightly basis from July 2009 until June 2010. The features will have two alternating themes: 'Mapping Vulnerabilities Caused By Climate Change' and 'Being the Change In Times of Climate Change'. The first section will carry reports from affected zones while the second will highlight good practices of adaptation and mitigation in times of climate change.


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