Reducing disaster risk through a gender-responsive midterm review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030
A side event at the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women on the theme “Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes”.
Organized by UNDRR and co-sponsored the Permanent Missions of Australia, Indonesia, Norway, and Peru as Co-Chairs of the Group of Friends of Disaster Risk Reduction, the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh and Japan, UNEP, UNFPA, UN Women, and WMO.
The expected outcome of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 is ‘The substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.’ The theme of the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women provides an opportunity to review the ways in which promoting and supporting gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in disaster risk reduction can help accelerate progress to achieve this outcome, and explore opportunities to harness synergies between disaster risk reduction, climate change and environmental efforts.
Given the ongoing midterm review of the Sendai Framework, which commenced in October 2021 and will conclude with a high-level event on the 18 and 19 May 2023, CSW66 provides an opportune moment to consider the ways in which gender equality can help reduce disaster risk, disaster risk reduction can support gender equality, and gender and disaster risk reduction stakeholders can effectively collaborate to achieve these mutually reinforcing aims.
The impact of gender norms, roles and relations on people’s lives within a given culture and society is critical to understanding and reducing disaster risk. The Sendai Framework acknowledges both the specific vulnerabilities that women face in disasters due to pervasive gender inequality that exists across all societies, and recognizes the indispensable role of women, including grassroots women in risk reduction efforts. Effective disaster risk reduction requires meaningful and diverse participation, engagement and leadership, through an inclusive and accessible, all-of-society approach. Climate change and environmental degradation are increasing disaster risk, yet national legal and policy frameworks do not yet provide a cohesive basis for gender-responsive governance that fulfils the rights and needs of women and girls and ensures women’s participation in decision-making.
At the same time, disaster risk constrains our collective progress towards gender equality. Due to the systemic nature of risk, disasters have inequitable and cascading impacts across the Sustainable Development Goals which can last for years after the initial event. The 2021 UN Joint Study on Gender Equality and Women’s Leadership in Disaster Risk Reduction Beyond vulnerability to gender equality and women’s empowerment and leadership in disaster risk reduction: Critical actions for the United Nations System found that inadequate attention has been given to the ways in which gender inequality and disaster risk buttress each other, or how this synergy can most effectively be utilized to achieve gender equality and reduce disaster risk.
In line with the all-of-society approach outlined in the Sendai Framework, there is active engagement from gender and women’s stakeholders, yet understanding and addressing the underlying drivers of gender-based disaster risk is not currently sufficiently prioritized. The UNFCCC processes and the Paris Agreement have gradually accrued a gender equality framework, yet there is no similar mechanism for the Sendai Framework. The establishment of a gender action plan (or equivalent) to support implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction would be a potential starting point to ensure integrated and complementary approaches with the global gender action plans agreed for the biodiversity and climate change conventions and could help to bring together CEDAW Recommendation 37 on Gender-related dimensions of disaster risk reduction in the context of climate change, the SDGs and the Sendai Framework in a structured and action-oriented way.
The midterm review of the Sendai Framework which is currently underway aims to assess progress on the integration of disaster risk reduction into policies, programmes and investments at all levels, identify good practice, gaps and challenges, and approaches to accelerate the path to achieving the goal of the Sendai Framework and its seven global targets by 2030. The process is designed to assist countries in making risk-informed and prevention-oriented policy decisions, and gender equality and women’s empowerment must be fundamental to these decisions. This CSW66 side event provides an opportunity to advance gender-responsive implementation of the Sendai Framework as an integral component of the collective 2030 Agenda.
Objectives of the event
The event will:
Inform gender actors about the midterm review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and highlight different opportunities for engagement.
Identify key gender equality and women’s empowerment recommendations and commitments that will help to accelerate the implementation of the Sendai Framework recognising the strong links between climate change, environment and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.
Share and unpack the recommendations from the UN Joint Study on Gender Equality and Women’s Leadership in Disaster Risk Reduction Beyond vulnerability to gender equality and women’s empowerment and leadership in disaster risk reduction: Critical actions for the United Nations System to support a gender-responsive midterm review of the Sendai Framework.
Explore the possibility of establishing a specific gender work planning mechanism to support the implementation of the Sendai Framework to 2030, potentially a gender action plan similar to the climate change and environment treaty plans.
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