Former president of Ireland Mary Robinson has backed calls for local and international agencies to put gender equality and women’s empowerment at the centre of interventions to make communities resilient to harsh effects of climate change.
The founder of Mary Robinson Foundation, which champions women’s rights and social justice, made the remarks at the Community-based Adaptation Forum (CBA12) in Lilongwe which wraps up on Thursday.
The Paris Agreement, which Malawi is party to, calls for all countries to ensure their response to climate change are gender responsive as women bear the brunt of climate shocks, including food and water scarcity.
In an interview, she said: “I am glad to be here in Malawi for the third time. I attended the CBA forum in Bangladesh and in Tanzania. This is the foundation of climate justice.
“Developed countries, the major polluters, must do more by reducing carbon emissions and providing clean energy for communities in least developed countries. We need to invest more in empowering women who suffer the worst impact of climate change.”
Robinson described as a disgrace President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Accord which requires developed countries to cut back on their carbon emissions and increase climate funding for adaptation.
“The richer world is not doing enough to support least developed nations adapt to climate change,” said the ex-Irish leader, who met President Peter Mutharika at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Tuesday.
Today, she is scheduled to interact with rural Malawian women who use energy-efficient, smoke-free cook stoves to reduce health hazards associated with air pollution.
Robinson is also earmarked to meet former president Joyce Banda.
She described the country’s first female president as “my good friend”.