Malawi participated in the Gender Day Annual Breakfast meeting that was attended by former Irish President Dr Mary Robinson, an advocate of climate justice.
The meeting is considered important as delegates discussed gender and gender norms as key drivers of environmental degradation and those results in differential impacts on men and women and boys and girls.
Chief Director in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Dr Yanira Ntupanyama and Stella Gama from the Department of Forestry attended the meeting representing Malawi. The meeting was also attended by Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the incoming chairperson of the Network for Women Ministers and Leaders for Environment, among others.
Robnison observed that gender equality and enhanced women’s participation is important in climate change work for both policy and grassroot level.
In her remarks Ntupanyama told the delegates that women play a critical role in agricultural production in Malawi, comprising nearly 70 percent of the agricultural labour force, and produce about 70 percent of the household food and performing between 50-70% of all agricultural tasks
However they face a number of constraints, she said. “Among these are limited access to and use of agricultural inputs, extension services, improved technologies; have to travel long distances to fetch firewood and water; land tenure insecurity and related investments in land; limited access to markets, credits and loans, finance and funding mechanisms to increase their agricultural enterprises and human and physical capital, including skill and knowledge of new agricultural technologies and farming systems,” she said.
“It is important to mention that the challenges I have just mentioned are exacerbated by the negative effects of climate change and that to promote productivity of our farmers especially women, a holistic approach to tackling these challenges is required.”
Ntupanyama told the delegates that Malawi is committed to addressing the adverse effects and impacts of climate change and also implementing mitigation actions as evident by establishment of climate change governance and financing structures: Climate Change Policy and Climate Change Investment Plan both of which integrate gender; inclusion of climate change within key priority areas of the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS II) and development of National Guidelines for Mainstreaming of climate change and environment into sectoral plans and programs.
Mohammed, Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, said she is looking forward to steering the network to ensure climate response takesn into consideration women’s agendas and needs.