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Official calls for involvement of women in climate change issues

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Mrs Angelina Tutuah Mensah, the Deputy Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has called for the involvement of women and children in climate change discourse since they were the most vulnerable group.

“Women and children are the category that will feel the harsh effect of climate change, therefore they need to be involved in various deliberations to enable them understand its nature, effects and how to adapt to it”, she said.

Mrs Mensah told the GNA in an interview in Tamale on Monday that climate change was threatening the lives and livelihoods of people around the globe and would have a greater impact on the most vulnerable, especially women.

She said the livelihoods of the poor majority being women forming about 52 per cent in the agriculture labour force depended on climate sensitive factors.

“They produce about 70 per cent of subsistence crops and distribute 85 per cent of fish and crops and contribute 46 per cent of the Growth Domestic Product”.

She said the ability to change, adapt and convert men and women’s roles was an important characteristic when considering the impact of climate change.

Mrs Mensah said as part of predictions of climatic changes, women were more likely to be entrenched in conservative practices and relationships and might have few options for relief.

She said the group might be compelled to depend on biomass and hydrocarbon fuels and have few choices in relation to services such as water, energy financing and technology.

Mrs Mensah said the ability to change, adapt and convert men and women’s roles was an important characteristic when considering the impact of climate change.

She said the goals of sustainable development could not be achieved without solving the problems of gender inequality and ensuring the full and equal participation of women in all sectors of society.

Explaining why there had been recent changes in climatic conditions she said, human’s activities in the past years had altered the natural process.

She said there was evidence that most of the warming over the last 50 years was due to human activities.

Ice cores taken from deep in ancient ice of Antarctica show that carbon dioxide levels are higher now than at any time in the past 650,000 years. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means warming temperatures.

Mrs Mensah said because so many systems were tied to climate, a change in climate can affect many related aspects of where and how people, plants and animals live, such as food production, availability and use of water, and health risks.

Citing some examples she said a change in the usual timing of rains or temperatures could affect when plants bloom and set fruit, when insects hatch or when streams are their fullest.

She said this could affect historically synchronized pollination of crops, food for migrating birds, spawning of fish, water supplies for drinking and irrigation, forest health, and more.

Mrs. Mensah said Ghana had experienced the harsh effect of climate change in the form of heavy rains, scorching sun shine, intense drought among others.

Source: GNA

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