Making disaster disk reduction gender-sensitive

Making disaster disk reduction gender-sensitive

Can disaster risk reduction be gender-sensitive?

This paper is a policy guideline on gender mainstreaming which presents practical advice on how to institutionalise gender-sensitive risk assessments, implement gender-sensitive early warning systems, and use gender-sensitive indicators to monitor gender mainstreaming progress. It presents a summary of global-level events that highlight mainstreaming gender in disaster risk reduction, and notes that advocacy and awareness-raising have contributed to the increased understanding of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and gender as cross-cutting matters.

The report argues that most governments adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in January 2005. The Hyogo Framework states that a gender perspective should be integrated into all DRR policies, plans and decision-making processes, including those related to risk assessment, early warning, information management, and education and training. It notes that mainstreaming a gender perspective in risk assessment increases the accuracy and efficiency of the process. It also avoids re-enforcing the existing gender inequalities, and strengthens communities in the long run.

On early warning systems the report argues that a gender-sensitive early warning system is more effective compared to the gender neutral one. Involving women could help identify events earlier as they have knowledge of their surroundings because they use different resources and are in charge of different activities. On Indicators, the report notes that indicators are the basis of a gender-sensitive monitoring and evaluation system used to design and evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of any disaster risk reduction intervention. It further notes that monitoring and evaluation systems are a vital starting point for mainstreaming gender into DRR as they inform reporting on the implementation of the Hyogo Framework and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at national level.

The paper gives the following recommendations to different stakeholders involved in mainstreaming gender and disaster risk reduction:

  • rights-based, gender and participatory approaches should be the main course of action for mainstreaming gender perspectives in DRR
  • governments should commit to gender analysis and gender mainstreaming through enhanced cooperation and collaboration between Ministries responsible for DRR, climate change, poverty reduction and gender issues
  • governments should review national policies, strategies and plans, and take immediate action to mainstream gender into national development policies, planning and programmes
  • there is need a for increased awareness of the public and media on the gender specific needs and concerns in DRR and management
  • governments should support research institutions to study the cost-benefit and efficiency of gender-sensitive policies and programmes in DRR, climate change adaptation and poverty reduction
  • governments should improve disaster preparedness, response and contingency planning from a gender perspective and make them respond to the specific needs and concerns of men and women
  • governments should build and enhance the capacities of professional communities and pertinent national institutions to enable gender mainstreaming into all development sectors.
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