CS Intervention at the 2017 Asia Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment

APA delivered the Women’s Constituency Intervention under Agenda Item 8: Regional input to outcomes of the third session of the United Nations Environment Assembly, at the Asia Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment organized by Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and UN Environment (UNE) on 5-8 September 2017.  The Summit brought together the seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED-7), organized by ESCAP, and the second Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific, organized by UNE.

The statement as delivered follows: 

 

Chair, honorable delegates, fellow activists, and other stakeholders.

Thank you for this opportunity to speak on behalf of the women’s constituency at the Asia Pacific Regional Civil Society Engagement Mechanism. We appreciate the space given to CSOs  and the chance to provide a regional perspective for UNEA 3, and support the transparency of the process.

In Asia Pacific, interlinked systemic barriers are blocking the achievement of just and sustainable development, and the creation of a pollution free environment.  We are particularly concerned about the effects of patriarchy, fundamentalism and authoritarian governance, which are currently undergoing a resurgence in this region.  

We wish to commend UNE for its comprehensive and timely report, ‘For a Pollution Free Planet’.  Pollution has already caused an unprecedented number of deaths in our region, and has harmful effects on pregnancy outcomes, fertility, and fetal health, amongst others.

However, we feel the report lacks a deeper analysis of the feminization of pollution, and how it impacts various marginalized groups.

Women and men’s health is affected differently by pollution.  Women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens, with the majority of the region’s poor being women. Their unequal participation in decision-making processes and labour markets compound inequalities and often prevent women from fully contributing to planning, policy-making and implementation.  Other marginalized groups  such as people living with HIV, LGBTIQ, sex workers, people who use drugs and migrants are particularly vulnerable due to intersecting forms of discrimination.  

Honourable delegates, the planet cannot be pollution free if half of women and girls remain undernourished, face routine violence and discrimination, lack power to take decisions at multiple levels,  and lack equal opportunities for employment and  political representation.

Achieving gender equality and fulfilling the human rights of women and girls is a crucial step to sustainable development and sustainable resource use.  This includes ensuring that women and girls  are empowered and able to make fully informed choices and decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and rights.  In this vein, we encourage stronger linkages with the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme for Action (PoA) and related processes.

To close,  we underscore the call for a Development Justice framework to tackle the rising and pervasive inequalities in the region and to support the existence of powerful, resourced, connected women’s rights movements and other social movements.

Thank you

 

Additional Info

  • Topics Article: Accountability, Advocacy, ICPD, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
  • Sub Regions Article: Asia Pacific

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