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Voice of Pakistan on women in climate action

Voice of Pakistan on women in climate action

Voice of Pakistan on women in climate action

Climate change – an undeniable reality of the 21 century, is one of the heinous and existential threats, from which no one can escape or deny, to our planet earth. Weather changing and unexpected natural disasters are the practical example of climate change, financially speaking, and the flood of 2022 due to climate change shrieked Pakistan’s economy by 30 billion US dollar. Politically speaking, many International law experts, as well as academia are of the view that the rise in the sea level, again due to climate change might lead to the extinction of states in the near future. For instance, the vulnerability of Maldives, as an island, in the Indian Ocean, is clear manifestation of the above mentioned scholarly view. From a humanitarian lens, the displacement of millions of people including women and children is an irreparable damage to humanity.

Comparatively, developing countries for example Pakistan, are more exposed to climate change. The flooding of 2022 converted approximately, 17,000 schools only in the province of Sindh into rubble. The problem with developing or weak states are their ill preparation vis-a-via torrential rains and so on. Developed economies are more resilient in this regard.  Captivatingly, Pakistan contributes less than 0.5% in GHG. But, at the same time, unfortunately Pakistan is in the list of top 5 most affected countries due to climate changing is destroy the ecosystem.

Pakistan, as well as many other developing countries are staunch advocates of climate justice. A campaign which was launched by developed as well as developing countries to showcase their grievances and reservation vis-a-vis climate change at various International fora, particularly at the United Nations. Actions to control the disastrous repercussions of climate change as compared to the horrific consequences caused by climate change is just tip of the ice berg. The annual submit of Cop (conference of parties) is more about just taking group photos, rather than any practical and productive actions to alleviate the menace of climate change.

The materialization of a promised initiative in terms of loss and damage fund remains elusive. Such an apathy on the part of developed countries as well as responsible stakeholders might lead to the generation of a sense of helplessness in the climate-hitted nations. With the enhancement of apathy and reluctance on the part of responsible states, (US, China, UK, France, Etc.) crises hatted-countries left with few options. Besides the zero-sum game when it comes to the international system, patriarchal and misogynist tendencies further contributed to the wounded of already marginalized and subjugated women in our societies.

Many reports unveiled that women remain the most vulnerable and affected segment of our society due to climate change. Physically as well as mentally torture further worsen the scenarios and make it difficult for women to cope with the inhuman effect of climate change. The devastating years of 2022-2023 due to climate change, coupled with an already fragile state of our economy, lifted the authorities with zero options, but left the all vulnerable and climate-hatted people, especially the women at the mercy of God.

Assistance of international donners, Islamabad will be unable to hear the concern of women. Their (women) dependence nature further dwindled their ability, reports also uncover suicidal tendencies in women, especially at the time of crises like flooding, torrential rains as well as mass exodus. Last year, flooding left more than 650,000 pregnant Pakistani women at the mercy of God. And they were not able to access to healthcare system.

The newly born babies, which grow up in such a heinous situation will obviously face diseases like malnutrition and so on. Vegetables & fruits, these unstable children will then become a liability rather than an asset for the country, Due to their mental and physical illness they will not contribute enough to the country’s development. Last year’s flooding or catastrophic flooding I would say, displaced more than 33 millions of people. Unfortunately, 80% of the above mentioned figure (33 million) were women.

Majority of them were not in a position to relocate and rebuilt or re-establish their lives. Women in Pakistan are more or less equivalent to that of men (49-51%) to negate  them will prove disastrous for Pakistan’s future, and it will be a historical blunder and our part, which will not only affect our economy, but also our politics,  society, and International or world standing. Not a single state can make any progress if it excludes half of its assets from the man powers. If we return from a state of pessimism as we already manifested in terms of fact and figures, there is still a layer of hope too.

To mitigate the unbearable results of climate change, the government of Pakistan has partnered with international union for conservation of nature and other concerned organizations, as well as competent authority to a national climate change gender action plan. Despite collaboration with global actors, gender inequality still persists which is a matter of grave concerns. The issue of immense influence of climate change on women as compared to their male partner, which was also highlighted by Pakistan’s former climate minister Sherry Rahman.. It was an itself a good reflection that women are leading such an imperative and sensitive ministry.

The ministry for climate change was supervised to ensure the implementations of provisions derived from a much collaborated effort by Pakistan coupled with international organizations as well as other stakeholders .The above mentioned gender responsive action plan was based on four comprehensive themes: capacity building, policies and management mechanism, gender balance, and adaptation and mitigation.

The comprehensive nature of above mentioned theme is a clear manifestation of Pakistan’s utmost willingness and seriousness vis-a-vis climate change. To effectively deal with climate change, women empowerment is inevitable. A notion reaffirms by global leaders at the Paris agreement in 2015. However, when it comes to climate change governance, Pakistan’s main strategy is adaptation measures which are locally driven initiatives where women can play an instrumental role. In rural areas of Pakistan women also working in farming and if government and international bodies help and organize such women to control climate change they can play a Vital role in this regard, For the fulfillment of their duties, women must be equipped with adequate knowledge and skills related to climate change governance. Besides governmental responsibilities vis-a-vis women empowerment, we as an individual (as a father, as a husband, as a brother) also have duties in this regard. Society is the base or fundamental of our state. The negation of patriarchal and misogynistic thoughts, and subsequently the acceptance of a full and viable potential of women is the need of an hour. 

National or domestic anti-climate change regime will only prove viable, if it is backed by International assistance. Parties to the  UNFCCC,(both developed and developing) have the potential and capabilities to mitigate the heinous and terrible effects of climate change by introducing more viable and resilient regimes and role,co2  tax.(special tax). But unfortunately they lack will. Developed economies, especially the US, China, and to some extent India are developing or boosting their economies at the expense of weak states.  The world’s two largest polluters are the US and  China, contributing more than 50% to the GHG, but captivatingly when it comes to assistance for the climate-hatted countries, they are far away from individuals donners like Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi.

It is the responsibility of such developed states to work and spend budget to control climate change in all over the world. The ongoing Cop-28 summit must ensure the materialization of loss and damage fund. Once such funds are dispatched for countries like Pakistan, it will heel on climate,-hatted wounds. It would be the need an hour that such foreign assistance must be utilized by Pakistan at their utmost seriousness and to preserve the trust of the international community. As every problem creates an opportunity, according to the former foreign minister of Pakistan, Bilawal Bhutoo Zardari.

It is an opportunity for Pakistan to make all devastated roads, railways, hospitals, schools as more resilience as possible. The more we indulge in eco-friendly activities, it is certain, nature will never ever betrayed us. More importantly, we should not limits our gender respective action plan to climate related aspect and drive we should dragged this gender equality initiative beyond climate mitigation governance. We are social animals and can live healthy life only in natural existence ,we work on skill base rather than gender base .The more we accept diversity, the more we will be in a positions to cope with various existential problems. We should engulf diversity, rather than to demarcate the society based on Gender, Linguistic, Race, and Creed and so on.

To conclude, indeed something is better than nothing, but still, Pakistan’s response in this regard is unsatisfactory. We should do more to rescue our vulnerable people, especially the most marginalized segment of our society (women). We should do, whatever is required in collaboration with the international community to really fulfill the spirit and responsibility of being a state.

ROSHNI HADI
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The writer is; A student of political science.


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