The effort to mainstream gender in climate change considerations while cementing the place of women in decision-making in that arena has a supporter in Dr James Fletcher, recent head of the CARICOM Task Force on Sustainable Development.
“Women are disproportionately affected by climate change, particularly in small-island developing states. Anytime here in Saint Lucia, if there is a drought, the people you see going miles to collect water are not the men, it is the women because they are the ones who, unfortunately, have the children on their hands and the household on their hands,” he noted.
“So women are always the ones who are disproportionately affected by natural disasters, and I think there must be some sensitivity in funding to the fact that there is a gender imbalance in the impacts of climate change and other natural disasters,” Fletcher added.
He was speaking with journalists at the Marrakech Climate Talks in November last year on the issue of a lack of funding to support the gender work programme that emerged from the Lima Climate Talks two years earlier.
Decisions in that work programme include:
– To enhance the implementation of the decision to promote gender balance and improve the participation of women in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations and in the representation of parties in bodies established in line with the Convention or the Kyoto Protocol; and
– that additional efforts be made by parties to the convention to improve the participation of women in their delegations and in all of the bodies established under the convention.
Among other things, it also invites parties to advance gender balance and promote gender sensitivity in developing and implementing climate policy and achieve gender-responsive climate policy in all relevant activities under the UNFCCC.
However, in Marrakech – as in Lima – it emerged that financing to achieve the provisions of the work programme is a challenge.
Fletcher’s advice to the women and gender constituency is to press ahead with their efforts.
“The thing with some of these discussions is it takes a while for common sense to prevail. So things you think people would get immediately, they don’t, and you must have a lot of back and forth. But I think that is the nature of the multilateral process. People come with different agendas, different perspectives,” he said.
“It really speaks to the need to continue having faith in the process, to continue pressing the line, and continue developing a coalition and seeking out allies and seeing how you can get support,” added Fletcher, who is also the former sustainable development minister for Saint Lucia.
He revealed that this is what had happened in the small island developing states’ effort to have the world take up the issue of loss and damage associated with climate change.
“When we started out with loss and damage, loss and damage was quintessentially a small-island state issue, and then suddenly, other people realised ok, there is a lot of merit in this, and we started developing allies and having more people come and support our cause,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that on a gender issue you need to go in that way because you figure anybody should realise that is an issue. But I think, probably, it is one of these areas where we need to do more work and where we need to do more sensitisation and make people understand the imperative of making sure that the funding is gender sensitive,” Fletcher noted.
ELECTRICITY bills will jump 18 per cent for the average residential customer this month, returning them to their usual levels. After customers benefitted from a one-off, US$3.8-million ($340 million) fuel rebate from Petrojam, a new heat rate target and lower oil prices last month, the fuel rate has returned to levels seen up to July this year.
On Wednesday, The Gleaner hosted an editors’ forum with members of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA). The topics discussed were: ways to grow the sector and issues affecting manufacturing as well as what the manufacturers were expecting out of the new Budget.
Participants were: Brian Pengelley, JMA president; Metry Seaga, deputy president, JMA; Omar Azan, immediate past president, JMA; Gary ‘Butch’ Hendrickson, CEO, Continental Baking Company; Steven Whittingham, director, JMA and Michael Ranglin, CEO for GK Foods.
One of the issues affecting local manufacturers is the high cost of electricity. While policymakers still drag their feet on implementing strategies and initiatives to ease the burden on the sector, some manufacturers are taking small but tangible steps to decrease energy consumption in their plants. See how they are doing.
Steven Whittingham says that at Island Ice and Beverage Company Limited they have opted to do off-peak manufacturing late in the nights when the Jamaica Public Service rates are lower.
Metry Seaga of Jamaica Fibreglass Products (JFP), is now making plans to install a solar system in his entire factory.
Michael Ranglin of GK Foods is now in collaboration with the the University of the West Indies Department of Physics to develop and install energy saving systems for all its buildings.
Butch Hendrickson of Continental Baking Company has carried out extensive replacement of oven burners, changed lighting systems, insulated buildings and bought more efficient vehicles
Omar Azan of Boss Furniture is now retooling the foam equipment and changing the lighting equipment throughout his factory.