July 19, 2011–Original article published by IUCN

By Ms Kanwal Ahluwalia, Gender Equality Advisor, Plan UK

Plan International’s Weathering the Storm: Adolescent Girls and Climate Change highlights the need to better integrate the specific needs of adolescent girls in climate change and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.

Photo Credit: Plan International 2011

The findings presented in the report are based on interviews with girls involved in Plan International’s programmes in Ethiopia and Bangladesh. We were particularly keen to hear stories from girls themselves in relation to how climate change is impacting on their lives and what they feel that policy makers should do differently.

The impacts of climate change, whether they are gradual changes in agriculture and living conditions or the more cataclysmic effects of a cyclone or flood, are different for different populations. Whilst inevitably children everywhere are badly affected we illustrate how girls, in particular, bear the greater burden. The report evidences how, as a result of climate change, adolescent girls face increases in household responsibilities and are more likely to be forced into work resulting in less time for them to attend school or study at home. It also emphasises the policy and funding gap to address these issues by policy makers.  The girls themselves were clear on where they felt that policy priorities should be targeted. They wanted greater access to quality education where they can learn skills to improve their adaptive capacity; greater protection from violence especially early forced marriage, sexual violence and forced labour and they wanted their concerns to be heard and acted upon by policy makers.

To see report click here.

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