December 8, 2023
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Only a third of countries that have published plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for climate shocks have committed to upholding the sexual and reproductive health rights of women, girls and other marginalized people in these plans, according to a new report from Queen Mary University of London and UNFPA, the UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency.

The , “Taking Stock: Sexual and Reproductive and Health and Rights in Climate Commitments: A Global Review,” examines the plans of 119 countries and whether they integrate access to contraception, safe birthing, and protecting , girls and other marginalized groups from gender-based violence into their adaptation goals.

It finds that 38 out of 119 countries integrate sexual and reproductive health rights in national climate plans and calls for climate policies to protect human rights and safeguard the rights of women, children, refugees, displaced people and people living with disabilities.

The research also shows that that women, girls and other marginalized people are disproportionately impacted by climate-crisis-driven food insecurity and malnutrition. They make up the majority of the malnourished in the four countries where famine or famine-like conditions are present.

The report recommends wealthy countries that are most responsible for the climate crisis supporting the poorest, at-risk countries through climate financing and technical assistance to ensure the sexual and reproductive health rights of women, girls and other marginalized people are protected as the climate emergency unfolds.

Speaking at the launch event for the report on Tuesday 10 October, Dr. Heather McMullen, report author and Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, said, “The climate crisis is a crisis of body autonomy and we need to take action.

“Our comprehensive analysis shows that while the links between climate change, women’s rights, and gender-based violence are growing in recognition, there is a lot of room to improve. We must strive for gender equality and ensure that women and girls and other marginalized people are not made to disproportionately suffer, which will not be possible without increased funding and ambition on a global scale to solve the problem.”

Professor Sir Mark Caulfield, Vice Principal for Health for Queen Mary’s Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, added, “Sexual and reproductive health rights represent some of the most complex human needs, and are being hit hard by the climate crisis as this report shows.

“Queen Mary is proud to have partnered with UNFPA in the evidence gathering for this report. We must all take a -based approach if we are to support society’s most marginalized. Addressing and its impact on women and health rights issues is not only the right thing to do, but vital for the very future of humanity.”

Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director, said, “The climate crisis is not gender-neutral. In the that are also most at-risk, women and girls in vulnerable countries are being disproportionately impacted even though they have contributed the least to the global climate emergency.

“More countries must include protecting sexual and reproductive rights in their climate plans, and wealthy nations must provide financing. Without this, gender equality for millions of women and girls will be difficult, if not impossible to achieve.”

More information:
Report: … e-commitments-global

Sexual and reproductive health rights of women, girls and marginalized people missing from most national climate plans (2023, October 11)
retrieved 12 October 2023

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