UN food agencies call for climate adaptation solutions that include women and girls


ROME — As climate extremes become more frequent and intense, women and girls – who are at higher risk than men and boys of experiencing the devastating effects of the climate crisis – including food insecurity, must be at the forefront when planning and implementing climate change adaptation solutions, three UN food agencies said today at their joint event on International Women’s Day.

Organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), the event recognized the contribution of women and girls around the world who play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation. He also highlighted the need for meaningful participation of women in decision-making processes related to resilience and adaptation to climate change.

The disproportionate dependence of women and girls on climate-sensitive work, such as agriculture, and their limited access to economic and productive resources, as well as services and information, increase their vulnerability to climate change. devastating effects of cyclones, floods and droughts, which in turn impact their lives. livelihoods and food security.

Globally, 80% of people displaced by climate-related disasters are women. When homes are destroyed by climatic shocks, such as hurricanes, cyclones and earthquakes, women and girls are forced to flee to displacement camps, where they are often exposed to increased violence.

“To have a meaningful and lasting impact, women and girls cannot be left behind – they must be at the center of solutions and at the design table of those solutions,” said Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy CEO of FAO and Chair of the FAO Women’s Committee, closing the event.

FAO helps countries develop gender-responsive climate policies and actions in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and livestock. A specially designed program aims to build women’s leadership and negotiation skills, so that they can become climate change negotiators. FAO is also promoting parliamentary actions for gender-responsive budgeting and investments in agrifood systems in the context of climate change and the COVID-19 response. It also helps members adopt gender-sensitive good practices to support climate-smart agriculture and is one of the main implementing agencies of the Global Environment Facility and the Green Climate Fund.

“The 1.7 billion women and girls living in rural areas around the world are far more likely to be affected by climate shocks and conflict – by an order of magnitude. disproportionate to the long-term resilience of our communities. , nutrition and livelihoods. IFAD is working with rural women to strengthen adaptation to climate change in rural areas and preserve the natural resources on which we all depend,” said Dr Jyotsna Puri, Associate Vice-President of IFAD, “With the right kind of investments and recognition, they can help build a better future for us all.”

Through its Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Program (ASAP), IFAD prioritizes the empowerment of women. It promotes women’s participation in community planning and decision-making on adaptation and ensures women have access to training and equipment such as drip irrigation and solar pumps. In The Gambia, for example, through access to appropriate water management systems and training in soil fertilization and transplanting, women have diversified and increased their food production, earned higher incomes and strengthened their community’s resilience to climate change.

“Vulnerable communities, including women and girls on the frontlines of the climate crisis, need urgent support to adapt and build resilience,” said WFP Deputy Executive Director Valérie Guarnieri. “WFP provides climate solutions that enable women to access early warning information and forecast funding before a disaster strikes and trains women in climate-resilient agricultural practices.

In Guatemala, where frequent and intense droughts, as well as excessive rains, severe floods and landslides have led to chronic food insecurity in recent years, WFP has launched parametric insurance that provides small-scale women farmers and entrepreneurs with coverage against droughts and excessive rains to protect their livelihoods in the event of a climate shock. The insurance guarantees payouts of up to US$300 and ensures that they are able to meet their basic needs even in the face of a disaster. The project targets indigenous women in the community, taking into account their particular vulnerabilities.

Women have been severely underrepresented in important decision-making processes regarding climate change solutions. The lack of equitable representation of women in climate change adaptation frameworks leads to the creation of solutions that do not accurately address the different needs of diverse groups of people affected by climate change threats.

Empowering women to ensure their full participation in climate change adaptation decisions and frameworks is crucial to achieving a more sustainable world.


Irina Utkina,
FAO/Rome, +39 0657052542

Caroline Chaumont,
IFAD/Rome +39 3496620155

Isheeta Sumra, WFP/Rome,
Crowd. +39 3471814398


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