GIS – 30 May 2019: A one day workshop on the theme “Women Empowerment in Disaster Risk Reduction and Enhancing Resilience against Extreme Weather”, an initiative of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Centre and the Mauritius Meteorological Services (MMS) opened, today, at the Special Mobile Force in Vacoas. The aim is to empower women for preparedness as well as build their capacity for alternate likelihood means in post-disaster situations.
The Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity, and Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr Marie Joseph Noël-Etienne Ghislain Sinatambou, the Director of the MMS, Mr Prem Goolaup, and other personalities were present at the opening ceremony.
In his address, the Minister said that men, women, boys, and girls do not face the same needs and vulnerabilities in the face of natural disasters adding that an understanding of gender implications and the facets of natural disasters and climate change is critical to enable communities to become disaster resilient. The promotion and mobilisation of women’s’ leadership and gender equality in building resilience is critical to the sustainability and achievement of risk reduction priorities and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he added.
He indicated that women can act as catalyst for change given that they represent more than 50% of the Mauritian population. Women, he added, are managers of the households and also the first teachers to their child. He emphasised on the need for women’s empowerment so that they realise their full potential and take advantage of the vast reservoir of capabilities they represent, thus help in protecting their families as well as in the mitigation of the challenges of climate change.
Government, he added, is striving to make Mauritius more climate friendly and climate resilient through community preparedness exercises. They comprise: simulation; community disaster response programs; and sensitisation and capacity building campaigns.
Speaking on the Sendai Framework which links closely with Paris Agreement on climate change and the SDGs, he said that the framework calls for gender sensitive actions as women’s participation is critical to effectively managing disaster risk and designing, and implementing gender sensitive disaster risk reduction policies plans and programmes. Minister Sinatambou also highlighted the role of Civil Society organisations which according to him play a critical role during disasters in saving lives.
As for the Director of the MMS, Mr Goolaup, made observations on the increasingly impact of extreme weather conditions which is causing significant damages worldwide, namely loss of lives and assets and damage to properties. Mauritius as well, he said, is witnessing the impacts of climate change recalling the record of rainfall in the month of January 2018 and the thunderstorms early this year. He cautioned that we cannot mitigate disasters but can certainly mitigate their impacts by being weather ready at all times.
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