Climate change, gender-based violence: Implications for the security sector

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While climate change continues to put pressure on the lives and livelihoods of many communities and individuals worldwide, its impact is not gender neutral. Women and girls, particularly the poorest, tend to be disproportionally affected by environmental degradation and climate- and weather-related disasters. Women tend to be more reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods compared to men, and often have fewer rights and more limited access to information, resources and decision-making power.

There has been growing evidence that there is a clear connection between environmental degradation and increased gender-based violence (GBV), through a range of causal pathways. Where access to natural resources is under pressure, women can be subjected to demands for sexual acts as the price of their access. Economic stress caused by resource scarcity or disasters can cause communities to resort to child, early or forced marriages. Criminal activities such as wildlife poaching and illegal resource extraction as often associated with GBV. In the aftermath of extreme weather events and climate change-induced societal and economic shocks, women are at a higher risk of being victims of sexual exploitation, domestic violence and human trafficking. Climate change drives migration, both internally and externally, which increases the risk of being victim to GBV. Climate change is a driver of conflict, which is accompanied by GBV risks. GBV is often directed against female environmental defenders and activists as a tool to silence them and deter others from speaking up against environmental injustices.

Join a panel of experts from LAC, the Pacific, Europe and West Africa for a discussion on the intersections between gender-based violence (GBV) and climate security, and the ways through which the security sector can contribute to minimizing GBV related to climate change.  

Itzá Castañeda, Gender and Sustainable Development Special Adviser, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Kavita Naidu, former Climate Justice Programme Officer, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), and member of the Women and Gender Constituency of the UNFCCC.

Szilvia Csevár, Lecturer and Researcher in Public International Law, The Hague University of Applied Sciences.

Ngozi Amu, Team Leader and Chief Research/ Analysis, UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS)

Simultaneous interpretation English/French/ Spanish/ Russian

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