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UN rights body urged to put women at forefront of disaster reduction discussion

[JURIST] A UN human rights body was urged [press release] Monday to place more of a focus on women in disaster reduction and relief measures. Speaking to a special convention on the relationship between gender and disaster reduction and climate change, Robert Glasser, head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, told the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women [official websites] that women are disproportionately affected by disasters, as they typically "bear the brunt of climate change and hazards such as storms and floods." Glasser noted that the Sendai Framework [text, PDF], a 15-year plan for increasing disaster reduction, "places significant importance on human rights, gender equality and climate change adaptation." Because of various factors, men and women have different experiences when disaster strikes, as women are more prone to face "gender-based violence," "loss of livelihood" and "loss of life." Glasser expressed hope that this plan will help women gain greater "disaster resilience."

In January UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] announced that he is creating the first high-level panel to address women's economic empowerment initiatives [JURIST report]. The panel's goal is to create a plan of action for nations and private sector businesses to implement in order to improve women's rights by achieving economic agency for women all over the globe in accordance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development [text, PDF]. In September the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that no country has achieved full equality between men and women and urged [JURIST report] the 47 members of the Human Rights Council to make efforts to achieve such equality.

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