The IDBZ Board, Management and staff joins the rest of the world today in celebrating the International Women’s Day (IWD) in solidarity with the United Nations (UN), which has set the 8th of March as the Observance Day for the commemoration every year. The international women’s day is set to honour women’s achievements and to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements, with a view to attain gender parity and women’s rights. The global theme for this year is: Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow #BreakTheBias. As a nation, we are commemorating the day under the theme ‘Gender, Climate and Women Empowerment in Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management’#Breakthebias, in recognition of the contribution made by women and girls towards building a more sustainable future for all.
The theme resonates with one of the objectives in the IDBZ Gender Policy viz, ‘To build equally women and men’s resilience to, and ability to address climate change, and to ensure that women and men will equally contribute to, and benefit from activities supported by the Bank’. As a Bank, we acknowledge that gender equality and women’s empowerment is critical in delivering sustainable infrastructure development, which, in turn, has a positive impact on building people’s resilience, social protection and access to public services.
While climate change continues to put pressure on the lives and livelihoods of many communities and individuals, its impact is not gender neutral. Advancing gender equality in the context of the climate crisis and disaster risk reduction therefore remains one of the greatest global challenges to date. The effects of climate change are felt most acutely by those segments of the population that are already in vulnerable situations. Generally, women, the elderly, people with disabilities, children and the youth are more susceptible as they tend to be more dependent on the natural resources which climate change threatens the most.
Women’s limited access to productive resources and economic security, and their responsibility for their family’s food, water and energy security, often means that they have less capacity to adapt to climate change, to recover from disasters, or to adjust their lives to changes in their environment. For example, in periods of prolonged drought, women and girls make more frequent and longer journeys to obtain food or water, which makes them vulnerable to violence or abuse compared to women not living in drought conditions. Moreover, women`s representation in different structures is limited due to various socio-economic and cultural issues.
Despite the challenges, we want to applaud the women and girls who are participating and taking leadership in climate action. Indeed, women are playing a crucial role in supporting their families and communities and in implementing innovative and sustainable mechanisms to adapt to climate change and mitigate its negative impacts. Women are not always victims, they are also instrumental in providing solutions to difficult situations. In the formulation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS), climate change and gender have been considered as issues that cut across all the 17 SDGs. Similarly, the 2015 Paris Agreement provides an opportunity to strengthen gender-responsive national contributions to adaptation and mitigation strategies, as the agreement explicitly includes women as partners.
Therefore, continuing to examine the opportunities, as well as the constraints, to empower women and girls to have a voice and be equal players in decision-making related to climate change and sustainability is essential for sustainable development and greater gender equality. As we commemorate this year`s International Women`s Day, we celebrate the Bank`s recent accreditation to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). As an accredited entity, the IDBZ is responsible for developing and submitting climate funding proposals to GCF, overseeing project management, mobilising capital, and deploying a range of financial instruments to fund infrastructure related climate projects.
Apart from submitting its own projects for funding, the Bank will be working with other partners who are developing inclusive climate adaptation or mitigation projects that require funding. Further to the funding expected to flow into the country through accreditation to the GCF, the Bank is in the process of establishing a Climate Finance Facility (CFF). The Facility presents an opportunity for a transformative and innovative shift in the infrastructure funding activities of the Bank, whilst providing a platform to crowd in various finance sources including Government, bilateral and multilateral financiers, and the private sector to support investments in green infrastructure projects.
The IDBZ recognises the key role in safeguarding and empowering women and girls in the projects that it finances and support. Free, prior and informed consent is a critical component of the Bank’s stakeholders engagement for every project implemented. When it comes to gender risks, Gender-Based violence and sexual harassment are primary areas of concern.
These initiatives, among others, demonstrate the Bank`s continued efforts to promote inclusive socio-economic development in all its operations. Without gender equality today, a sustainable future, and an equal future, remains beyond our reach. We therefore need to continue challenging biases and misconceptions in the interest of creating a more inclusive and gender-equal world. #Breakthebias.