Campbell to UN Body: Impacts of climate change on Small-Island Developing States must be acknowledged

Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, addresses the (virtual) United Nations Multi-Stakeholder Hearing (July 21). Also pictured (from left) are: Dr. Jacinta Higgs, Director, Department of Gender and Family Affairs and Miss Simone Bridgewater, Coordinator, Department of Gender and Family Affairs. (BIS Photo/Matt Maura)

The negative and indirect effects of climate change threaten the full and effective enjoyment of a range of human rights, including the right to life, education, food, health, water and sanitation, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell told a (Virtual) United Nations Multi-Stakeholder Hearing. Minister Campbell said The Bahamas remains committed to tackling the inter-linked challenges related to the disproportionate effects of climate change and natural disasters on women and girls in an integrated manner:

This includes continued efforts in mainstreaming a gender perspective into climate change and sustainability policies by forming an intergovernmental panel on climate change inclusive of implementing legislation to ban single use plastics; providing a budget allocation of $16Million for a National Food Distribution Task Force thereby ensuring that houses – particularly those led by females, have food; creating a Sustainable Development Goals Unit and nurturing relationships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to assist with the monitoring and responding to these challenges that women and girls are affected by, in addition to the funding of The Bahamas Chapter of the Caribbean Institute for Women in Leadership (CIWIL) to ensure that more of our women and girls are prepared to sit at the table and participate in the leadership-making decisions. “Climate change impacts our people, our land, our survival.

There is a distinct inter-linkage between the advancement and empowerment of women and girls and the resilience of their country. The lived reality of the extensive, negative impact of climate change on Small-Island Developing States such as The Bahamas must be acknowledged.” Min. Campbell said, as an example, Hurricane Dorian, which ravaged parts of the northern Bahamas (areas of Grand Bahama & Abaco in particular) in September, 2019, resulted in “unprecedented, catastrophic destruction” in-country with damages estimated at $US3.4 Billion. “This is our reality. Small-Island Developing States) are amongst the most vulnerable to the devastating effects of climate change and our countries are now also grappling with the shocks of the COVID-19 Pandemic. These circumstances can diminish a country’s capacity to advance the cause of women and girls, especially our women in the Family Islands, women with disabilities and migrant and older women. We must acknowledge that access to funding is critical for SIDS (and) that partnerships and technical training are necessary for recovery.” Minister Campbell said mechanisms such as the Kyoto Protocol, Paris Agreement, the SAMOA Pathway Partnerships and the 2030 Agenda represent opportunities to address a range of interlinked challenges identified by the United Nations such as food security, sustainability and disaster risk reduction.

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement aimed at reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and the presence of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. The essential tenet of the Kyoto Protocol was that industrialized nations needed to lessen the amount of their CO2 emissions. The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance, signed in 2016. The Small-Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action is an official document formally adopted by U.N Member States as the outcome of the 3rd International Conference on Small Island Developing States, in which countries recognized the need to support and invest in, these nations so they can achieve sustainable development.

Set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly, the Sustainable Development Goals (also known as the 2030 Agenda) are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all” by the year 2030.) Minister Campbell took the opportunity to reaffirm The Bahamas’ commitment to the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action which calls for UN States Parties (Member States) to: “advance the goals of equality, development, and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of all humanity.”

Adopted by the United Nations at the end of the Fourth World Conference on Women (September 15, 1995), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action is widely known as the most progressive blueprint for advancing women’s rights globally. The framework covers 12 areas of concern including: women and the environment, women in power and decision- making, the girl child, women and the economy, women and poverty, violence against women, human rights of women, education and training of women, institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, women and health, women and the media, and women and armed conflict.

The Virtual Multi-Stakeholder Hearing Moderated Dialogue among Gender Equality Leaders was held Tuesday (July 21) at United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States of America under the theme: “Accelerating the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls through the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

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