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Civil society calls for bridging policy gaps, initiate climate change resilience

The findings of a recently conducted study and impacts of disasters specifically on women in Sindh province opened the debate among experts keeping a close eye over climate change and its effects.

Speakers, including Nasir Penhwar of the Center for Environment and Development, water advocacy expert Zulfiqar Halepto, peasants rights activist Punhal Sario, Javed Soz head of the SCF facilitated the workshop. These speakers already have a background of planning and working on climate resilience in the province, discussed related themes like causes and frequencies of disasters, destruction and displacement and policy-gaps in rehabilitation of these people.

They were speaking at a two-day capacity building and advocacy workshop on advocacy and policy analysis skills for health rights for media persons of CSOs alliance on climate change and health, which culminated on Thursday evening.

The workshop was organized by Sindh Community Foundation (SCF) in cooperation with the Asian Pacific Resource and Research Center for Women (Arrow), which attracted civil society activists, media persons and environmentalists. The participants, hailing from different areas of all the four province of Pakistan like southern Punjab’s Multan, Jaffarabad of Balochistan and parts of Peshawar in KP provinces. Among participants were some who have their own understanding on the issues. They also shared the impacts of climate change and frequency of disasters, losses and awareness about resilience in their areas with identifying role of government, civil society, academia and communities.

The study covered the disaster-affected districts and collected data regarding women’s health, who always look vulnerable while disasters hit human populations. In rural areas, people residing near banks of drainage, waterways, rivers and near the sea face hardships. Women usually sit and work at homes and fall prey to these devastation.

Javed Hussain, executive director SCF- researcher of the study shared findings of the research, who led the SCF team in conducting the study quite recently. The study assessed the impact of disasters on women’s health in districts of Sindh and tried to find the vulnerability of women, who experienced disasters. The speakers also shared their experiences and learnings in the light of the discussions within the participants of the workshop, who were armed with the knowledge about natural calamities and its effects in their specific areas where they belong to and learned more.

The draft was an eye opener, which will be shared with stakeholders, including policy makers. It revealed that disasters usually leave the worst impact on livelihoods, access to services and infrastructures for general health and reproductive health in Sindh province. Women and girls face a lot of difficulty to survive during disasters, post-disaster and recovery interventions.

It says women’s needs are not fully addressed in post disaster interventions. Interventions by NGOs are not well coordinated with each other although a cluster approach exists but the integration of the actions was poor, he pointed out.

The government programs were reviewed in the literature review and focal group discussions (FGDs) with community organizations and how it affected women were conducted to get firsthand knowledge. It was reviewed that the distribution of the WATAN Card (a card for damages compensation) was as not effective as very few women headed households and did not receive this compensation. The process of disbursement of installments was very long.

Agencies. Civil society calls for bridging policy gaps, initiate climate change resilience. Daily Times, February 3, 2017

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