4 December 2012

Liberia: 'Consider Impacts of Climate Change'

As the conference on climate change continues in Doha, the State of Qatar, Liberia's Gender and Development Minister has told delegates that the impacts of climate change on gender must be considered.

Speaking Monday when she presented a paper on "Building Sustainable Health Systems: Focus on Climate Resilience", Minister Julia Duncan Cassell said women, children and the elderly are vulnerable groups, and as such, they should be considered during the design and development of projects.

She believes that when this is done, it will help to build the resilience of women, children and the disabled people to the health related impacts of climate change.

Minister Duncan-Cassel observed that in order to achieve this, there is a need to raise awareness on gender, health and climate change.

Duncan-Cassell: "There is a need to support country-level activities to ensure that gender and climate change issues are addressed in the health care planning and management process of the country".

She emphasized the need for the collaboration of key stakeholders - the Ministry of Gender and Development, the Ministry of Health and the focal point institutions of climate change at the national level.

The Gender and Development Minister said once these issues are addressed, it will assist to reduce the vulnerability of women and children to health related impacts of climate change.

Touching on the gender perspective of health and climate change, Minister Duncan-Cassell recalled that Liberia's Climate Change and Gender Action Plan was validated in August 2012 through a consultative and participatory process.

She named the six priority sectors in Liberia's Climate Change and Gender Action Plan as Agriculture and Food Security, Coasts, Forestry, Health, Water and Sanitation and Energy.

Deliberating on Agriculture and Food Security, she said Liberia's Agriculture sector is rain-fed which is experienced early, late and prolong rainfall with slight increase in temperature.

"This has led to a reduced agricultural potential and even disruption of our agricultural system in some places, resulting into low harvest yield. The implication of low harvest affects nutritional status of the people, especially women and children resulting into malnourishment. A poor nutritional status makes women and girls vulnerability to increase prevalence of anemia, maternal related problems, and low birth weight of their infants," she stated.

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