-by our correspondent.
The African Risk Capacity (ARC) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote integration of gender equality in the disaster risk management.
Under the agreement, signed by the Heads of both institutions, the parties will jointly engage in high-level advocacy, communication, dialogue, awareness-building, knowledge development and sharing as well as resource mobilization to leverage the influence of both agencies towards a stronger political engagement for Gender and Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in the Sahel and other African countries.
The Director-General of the ARC Group, Ibrahima Cheikh Diong, who commended the partnership, underscored the varying impacts of natural disasters on people and recommended the adoption of an inclusive and gender-sensitive approach that will help strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities for better climate adaptation.
“Disasters are gender neutral, but the impacts are not same for everyone, therefore inclusive gender equality is a cross-cutting priority area in our work. We believe that the partnership with UN Women will be mutually beneficial to achieving our common objective to raise awareness on gender perspectives in DRM and increase the knowledge of our Members States through full utilisation of the innovative tools we have developed for analysing vulnerability levels for women and men in the wake of natural perils.” He noted.
Recently, ARC went into partnership with different organizations including; the African Union Commission’s Directorate of Sustainable Environment and Blue Economy under the Department for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment, to launch the Gender and Disaster Risk Management Platform (GDRMP).
The Platform aims to promote knowledge development and sharing, advocacy and policy dialogue on gender transformative DRM approaches geared towards the adoption of a gender transformative ‘culture of insurance’ by Member States. This is in addition to the ARC Gender Transformative Fund which aims to help unlock needed resources to build Member States’ capacity for gender mainstreaming in disaster risk management.
For her part, the UN Women, Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Oulimata Sarr, highlighted the importance for a joint approach in raising awareness on the significance of gender equality and the empowerment of vulnerable populations in the region:
”Natural disasters and other shocks disproportionally affect women and girls and often lead to higher loss of lives and livelihoods and often result in a gendered negative spiral of vulnerability and poverty, leaving women and girls disproportionately vulnerable to future shocks and crises. Joining forces with ARC will be crucial to ensure that decision makers at the highest level are well informed when planning DRM responses, and that women and girls are at the center of their policies.” She said.
Both the ARC and UN Women agree that knowledge of disaster exposure and vulnerability indexes of women and men to natural disasters will assist in determining key drivers for preparedness and coping capacity towards advancing socioeconomic resilience, better development outcomes, and more sustainable solutions for affected populations.