Pacific women most affected on climate change

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BY MAVIS NISHIMURA PODOKOLO

WOMEN in the Pacific Island Countries are most victimised and vulnerable on climate change impact.

This was revealed by Honourable Member from Fiji, Salote Radrodro yesterday at the Pacific Women Parliamentary Partnership Forum held at Heritage Park Hotel, in Honiara.

Speaking at the PWPP Forum yesterday, Hon Salote Radrodro says disasters, rising sea level, agriculture and aquaculture are the three critical areas women have negative impacts on climate change.

“Research has proven and as we know ourselves that women and children are much more vulnerable in times of disasters.

“Loss of lives, loss of livelihoods leads women and girls in experience more tangible losses,” said Hon Radrodro.

She added rising sea levels, erosion and Stalinization are direct attributed to climate change, which will likely lead to less land for living and less arable land for growing food as well as less fresh water.

“As we only know too well that we (women) are responsible for water collection.

“In regards to this (climate change) issue there will be a decrease in the availability of fresh water will also lead women and girls in spending more time collecting water for their families,” she said.

She furthers that women are also responsible for caring for those who fall sick with water borne diseases.

“This increase in work load means that women and girls have less time to spend on earning an income education and contributing to community level decision making process, including climate and disaster risk reduction,” said Hon Radrodro.

Moreover changing rainfall patterns and salinity intrusion (salt water) are likely to be having significant impact on Agriculture.

“Women and girls are affected the most when traditional crops fail, this is because they have particular skills and knowledge when it comes to growing certain crops and foods preservation , which can help address reduced crop yields,” she said.

She added Pacific Island countries rely heavily on aquaculture for nutrition and income.

“However, ocean warming as a result of climate change affects healthy coral growth and along with coral bleaching reduces fish stock.

“Women are key stakeholders in fishery management yet our contributions are often unrecognised, as these are done for home consumption rather than economic gain.”

Attending the PWPP Forum are Hon minsters, senators, members of Parliament, opposition leaders, country representatives and participants from Australia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Bougainville, Kiribati, Palau, Solomon Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, New Zealand and Tonga.

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