Disasters affect men and women differently, and so we will continue to lobby for gender-sensitive vulnerability, risk and capacity assessments. Studies show that women’s vulnerabilities during and after disasters is linked to their role and status in society, making women and children 14 times more likely to die than men during a disaster.
At the same time, we will work towards increasing women’s understanding, knowledge and capacity on disaster risk reduction, and of its links with other development sectors. We will continue to encourage governments to invest in discovering women’s needs, so that women are better able to prepare for, and respond to, disasters.
However, advancing gender perspectives and women’s rights is not just a job for women – more men must advocate at a high level for the empowerment of women, and for the incorporation of gender budgeting into national and local development plans.
The United Nations has increased its leadership in gender issues and UN Women has been created for concerted action in promoting gender equality in and outside the United Nations system. For its part, the UNISDR secretariat has the mandate and responsibility for gender mainstreaming in disaster risk reduction, in line with the Hyogo Framework for Action adopted by 168 countries at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2005.
Making disaster risk reduction gender sensitive will secure the equal participation of men and women in policy making and policy implementation in disaster risk reduction, making it possible to achieve disaster-resilient nations and communities. And, as the frequency and impact of climate-related disasters increases, UNISDR is committed to building a culture of prevention that is founded on the specific needs, voices, roles, and potential of women, men, boys, and girls.
Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Disaster Risk Reduction