SHIRKAT GAH, KARACHI: Women play a significant role in the management of natural resources in Pakistan and have profound traditional and contemporary knowledge of nature. They are not only the victims of climate change but are also effective agents of change. Women in Pakistan, for instance, are already on the frontline of adapting to climate change because they have to deal with managing their families and households in the face of increasingly frequent floods and related natural disasters. As pivotal managers of natural and environmental resources and key frontline implementers of development, women have the experience and knowledge to build up the resilience of their communities to the intensifying natural hazards to come.
However, it is regrettable that in Pakistan, women are still marginalised from community discussions about development planning, especially since participation in such talks will benefit them directly.
It is high time to consider that women’s rights must be integrated with environmental concerns, policies and programmes. Until recently, development efforts in the country did not take into account the condition of women and this also contributed to their overall neglect. There is an urgent need for incorporation of gender perspectives in development planning, especially with regards to the environment, agriculture, forests, land management, water resources, climate change, disaster risk management, energy and sanitation.
Manager, (Environment and livelihood)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2012.