The government of Kenya has committed to advancing gender equality to be at the center of solutions on climate change, environment and initiatives for reducing disaster risks.
These remarks were made by Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs and Special Programmes Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Margaret Kobia during the presentation of the Country Statement at the 66th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) in New York on Wednesday 16th March 2022.
Prof. Kobia noted that climate change was posing a threat to our planet and existence with Kenya already experiencing climate change effects including rising lakes and drought causing devastation to lives and livelihoods.
This year’s session’s priority 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.
The Cabinet Secretary underscored the impact of climate change on women and girls in Kenya and the need for scaling up interventions to mitigate the adverse effects.
“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.
In his opening remarks during the opening ceremony on Monday 14th March 2022, United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guteres described the climate and environmental crises, coupled with the ongoing economic and social fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the defining issues of our time that need our collective response to chart our course for decades to come.
The Secretary-General told the Commission that when climate disasters strike, as they do with increasing frequency, research shows that women and children are up to 14 times more likely than men to die.
“Everywhere, women and girls face the greatest threats and the deepest harm and while they are taking action to confront the climate and environmental crises, they continue to be largely excluded from the rooms where decisions are taken,” he said.
The UN Chief called for action to put women at the center of decision making for climate change.
Kenya boasts of being among the first African countries to mainstream gender in legislation and policies on climate change interventions. The constitutional provisions on gender equality cover 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; 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.
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. Each year, since 1946, the UN through UN Women hosts a session of CSW at the UN Headquarters in New York. This year’s 66th session will take place from 14th March to 25th March.