Address delivered by Ms. Lulu Xingwana, Honourable Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities to the Global Gender Climate Alliance (GGCA) Indwe River, COP1717,
8 Dec 2011
The Programme Director
I bid you all a very good evening. Thank you for affording me the opportunity to address this occasion.
I want to applaud you for this evening. It is within this context, Programme Director that I wish to situate the benefits of the major groups to the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA) with regards to the impact of climate change.
It is believed that men and women will be faced with different vulnerabilities to climate change impacts due to existing inequalities such as, their role and position in society, access to resources and power relations that may affect the ability to respond to the effects of climate change. In spite of the major gains in addressing inequalities between men and women in South Africa, there still remain enormous disparities and inequalities.
The most important challenges are faced by women in rural areas who are still living in poverty with limited resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods. Women, considered one of the more vulnerable groups in South Africa seem to bear the most burdens resulting from climate variability impacts.
Women have to walk long distances to draw water and collect firewood to sustain their families. It is to this effect therefore, that issues of women have to be incorporated into climate change response strategies in order to cater for their ability to adapt to a changing climate while enhancing their livelihoods.
Communities especially women groups at the grassroots level have over the years deployed indigenous techniques and measures to respond to various environmental impacts. These groups therefore need to be up-scaled and empowered at Local Government level with strong support from National Government to build everyday community resiliency to the negative impacts of climate change, forest degradation and biodiversity loss. There is great potential for achieving this, as South African women are strong-willed and have overcome a great deal of dire circumstances in the past.
The South African Government strongly supports the mainstreaming of gender issues especially focusing on women and children into considerations of the Three Rio Conventions (i.e. CBD, UNCCD and (UNFCCC). This is in terms of empowering women in playing an active role in achieving resolutions of the conventions aimed at biodiversity protection, sustainable land and resource utilisation and enhancing people’s resiliency to climate change and variability. To this end South Africa therefore seeks to effect the mainstreaming of gender issues into its national strategies and action plans in line with the provisions of the Three Rio Conventions.
In conclusion, I would like to highlight key issues that would benefit the major groups in accessing the South African Pavilion.
Major groups possess traditional and indigenous knowledge in the area of waste management and sustainable consumption and production without formal training and technological assistance.
Eradication of barriers to information and training, and promotion of projects including waste as a resource for women, youth and other producing business organisations.
Major groups particularly women should participate in the economic activities.
Major groups should identify the need for knowledge production and sharing of skills through the effective use of the available and new technology in order to “break down” the barriers of ignorance and foster continuous dialogue governments and major groups.
Major groups particularly women in the rural areas are potential partners in the implementation of “green projects” working for water, waste, wetlands, etc. and need to be recognised as strategic partners.
There is a need to strengthen financial support and enhance access to credit including macro financing by major groups who are largely women in rural areas.
In conclusion I would like to emphasise the importance to develop an integrated strategy in the effort to fast-track the empowerment of women, youth people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups for their full participation in the sectors of the four thematic areas and their inclusion in all development plans.
Issued by: Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities
8 Dec 2011
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