Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) Press Statement on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2022

Theme: Gender equality today for a sustainable future

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), which is the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) and Public Protector of Zimbabwe, joins the Government of Zimbabwe, other stakeholders and to the rest of the world to commemorate International Women’s Day (IWD), 2022. International Women’s Day has been observed annually by the United Nations (UN) on March 8 since 1975. This day is also known as International Women’s Day. United Nations (UN) for women’s rights and international peace. The annual commemorations serve to draw attention to women’s rights around the world and highlight women’s issues globally by focusing on their historical, cultural and political achievements. This day is also celebrated to support action against gender inequality around the world.

The United Nations theme for the IWD 2022 commemorations is: Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Future. The theme recognizes the invaluable role of women and girls in achieving sustainable development in the context of climate change. Zimbabwe is among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 and intended to be achieved by 2030, are the “blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all”. Sustainable Development Goal 13 is about climate action and calls on nations to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Section 73 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (Amendment 20) guarantees sustainable development in terms of environmental rights, i.e. the right to an environment not harmful to health or well-being and protected for the benefit of present and future generations.

Almost all countries have experienced and experienced the drastic effects of climate change. Zimbabwe is no exception, and the adverse effects of climate change have been felt in the short term through natural hazards such as cyclones, floods, droughts and tropical storms and in the long term through the gradual degradation of the environment. The adverse effects of these events are felt in many aspects of people’s lives in terms of loss of life, destruction of infrastructure and property, food insecurity and scarcity of water and other natural resources. . These effects have been compounded by the devastating impact of the COVID -19 pandemic. Climate change therefore has a negative impact on several rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, including the right to life, the right to health care, the right to education, the right to property, the right to safe, clean and transportable access. water, the right to adequate food and environmental rights.

These effects of climate change are mainly felt by poor rural communities. In many of these contexts, women and girls are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change because, globally, they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods which are threatened by climate change. Because women take on gender-based caregiving roles, they bear the greatest challenges arising from the negative impacts of climate change as they are charged with the responsibility of securing water, food and wood for cooking and drinking. heating. When associated with unequal access to resources and decision-making processes, women, especially in rural areas, are in a position where they are disproportionately affected by climate change.

As the nation commemorates IWD, the ZHRC recalls that while women are vulnerable to the effects of climate change, they are also effective actors or agents of change when it comes to both mitigation and adaptation. . Women often have a strong body of knowledge and expertise that can be used in climate change mitigation, disaster reduction and adaptation strategies. In addition, women’s responsibilities as stewards of natural resources in communities and in household resources position them well to contribute to livelihood strategies adapted to changing environmental realities. SDG 5 urges States Parties to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls in all aspects, including ending gender disparities, eliminating violence against women and girls, ending early and forced marriage and ensuring equal participation and opportunity. It is therefore important to identify gender-sensitive strategies taking into account the equitable participation of women in decision-making processes to respond to the environmental and humanitarian crises caused by climate change. There should be gender equality today for a sustainable future.

Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission