Almost 160 million women and girls at risk of poverty from climate change, says UN study

Females at greater danger than boys and men if countries do not take action

A new report says the number of women and girls at risk of poverty due to climate change is on the rise. AFP
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Almost 160 million women and girls are at risk of being plunged into poverty due to climate change, according to a new report from the UN.

The study said 16 million more women and girls were in danger than boys and men, highlighting the increased vulnerability of females to the impact of food insecurity.

This was among the key findings of the report entitled Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): The gender snapshot 2023, launched in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

“Investments in a comprehensive SDG stimulus package would help to mitigate this effect, reducing the number of women falling into extreme poverty from 158.3 million to 43.3 million,” the study said, state news agency Wam reported.

“But the impact will still be less than what could be achieved if the world abates climate change now, before it gets exponentially worse.”

A recent review of national climate action plans showed many countries were a long way off from having the necessary infrastructure in place to protect the most vulnerable from the impact of climate change.

Only 55 nations had specific climate adaptation measures that referred to gender equality while even less, 23, recognised the role women could play as agents of change on climate commitments.

“Multi-sectoral plans and efforts to respond to climate change must prioritise women and girls most at risk,” the report stated.

“A lot more is also needed in the areas of conservation, disaster preparedness, adaptation and resilience, including expanding women’s access to quality health, education, economic opportunities and information.”

The report was the latest produced by the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

The UN climate change conference, Cop28, will take place at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12.

Updated: October 21, 2023, 11:05 AM