Enhancing women’s leadership to address the challenges of climate change on nutrition security and health
Publisher: United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition
Publication Date: Jan 2011
Climate change affects all the basic determinants of health, including food, shelter, water and air. More specifically, it will exacerbate the under nutrition crisis through a lack of access to sufficient, safe and adequate food at household level; maternal and child care and feeding practices; inappropriate access to health services and the lack of a healthy environment. Women are key agents at household and community levels through their roles in care, agriculture, food and nutrition security, health care and disaster risk reduction. Yet they are often excluded from climate change intervention processes. In order to reduce communities’ vulnerability and to increase adaptive capacity and resilience to the impacts of climate change on nutrition and health, a number of key issues related to women’s rights and gender equality need to be addressed. Recommendations on ways forward include: enhancing women’s capacity to address climate change-related risks through greater gender equity, which includes greater access to education, information, land, technologies, credit and social protection; and increased participation in decision-making. Efforts to reduce hunger and malnutrition among women and children in the face of climate change hazards include facilitating access to maternal and child care and nutrition services, direct nutrition interventions, promotion of good nutrition and feeding practices like breastfeeding, and improved hygiene practices. Food and nutrition security can be made more likely by strengthening women’s roles in promoting sustainable and diverse diets, resilient livelihoods, local food systems and climate-smart agriculture, including the production and consumption of nutrient-rich crops. In order to successfully respond to climate change, it is essential that access to health is improved by investing in health care systems, access to clean energy, water and sanitation.