Raise Climate Change Awareness, Namugala Implores Leaders

17 06 2009

By Bwayla Nondo

Monrovia — TOURISM, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Catherine Namugala has challenged political leaders and technocrats to lead a campaign for increased awareness on climate change and engage communities in strategies designed to respond to adaptation and mitigation measures.

Meanwhile, Ms Namugala has commended the government of Finland for supporting implementation of environmental programmes in Zambia.
Making a presentation on the interface between climate change and gender at the International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security at Samuel Doe International Conference Centre in Monrovia yesterday, Ms Namugala said there was need to engage communities and create awareness on climate change to enlist wider participation in adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Ms Namugala, who shared a platform with Finland President Tarja Halonen and other high-profile personalities, said practical steps should be taken to involve people, especially the vulnerable, in mobilising action against the effects of climate change.
She said lack of information especially among rural communities where illiteracy was high had worsened the effects of climate change and called for deliberate measures to reverse the trend.

She said there was need to sensitise policy makers so that they could be change agents and demonstrate linkages between poverty and climate change to influence communities.
Ms Namugla paid tribute to Finland, a lead donor in supporting environmental management programmes in Zambia, for the aid being extended to Zambia in an effort to address environmental issues of major concern such as climate change and natural resource management, particularly in the forestry sector.

She urged President Halonen to consider further aid to Zambia to enable the Government increase the scope for environmental and climate change awareness campaigns so that women could be emancipated from the burden they carry in their effort to cope with the effects of climate change.

She said in Africa, it was estimated that 80 per cent of food was produced and managed by women and, therefore, the impact of climate change on agriculture was affecting them the most.
She noted that empowerment of women in planning and decision making, as well as implementing measures to adapt and mitigate climate change, would make the global community’s common efforts more effective, especially at community level.
She said it was essential that women were provided with equal access to knowledge, resources and technology which were necessary to influence climate change.
“In energy, forestry and water resources management, women who are the primary users of these resources can promote good practices that prevent or reduce climate change.
“Therefore, women and men need to understand the process of climate change and share information on countering its negative impacts,” she said.

The minister said it was also important that women participate more actively in negotiations that shaped the new comprehensive agreement on climate change.  Ms Namugala added that women in leadership should influence policy decisions on climate change to ensure that their governments took climate change seriously.

She said the Zambian Government, in consultation with various stakeholders including women, had put in place a number of positive strategies in order to address climate change.
She cited the National Adaptation Programme (NAPA) that has a gender dimension to ensure that women benefit from measures intended to address the effects of climate change, as one of the strategies that addressed gender concerns relating to climate change.

Former Irish President, Mary Robinson, called for the development of what she termed as climate justice while vice-president of the European Commission, Margot Wallstrom, urged developed countries to increase support to developing countries to put them in good stead to deal with the challenges of climate change.

The International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, and International Peace has attracted more than 10,000 participants from around the world.
It is being co-hosted by the President of Liberia Ellen-Johnson Sirleaf and her Finnish counterpart.

The colloquium seeks to empower women to be more effective leaders by linking them with their peers from around the world to share and implement best practices on economic empowerment, influencing climate change and sustainable development.

The Zambian delegation, which Ms Namugala is leading, is composed of Deputy Minister for Gender Lucy Changwe, Deputy Bank of Zambia governor for administration, Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula, United Nations Development Programme country director for Zambia Viola Morgan, Government officials and representatives from non-governmental organisations.-ZANIS
Source:  http://allafrica.com/stories/200903090469.html

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