Rigobert Chairs Meeting On Gender-Responsiveness, Disaster Resilience

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Press Release:– On Wednesday July 22, 2020 Saint Lucia’s Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert chaired an online meeting hosted by the parliament of Saint Lucia to discuss, “Gender-Responsiveness and Disaster Resilience in the COVID-19 era and beyond.”

The meeting came days after the confirmation of two major projects here in Saint Lucia by the Department of Gender Relations.

The projects fall under EnGenDER (Enabling Gender Responsive Disaster Recovery, Climate and Environmental Resilience) and will ensure that Saint Lucia’s programmes aimed at environmental sustainability are gender-responsive.

Funded by Global Affairs Canada and the UK Department for International Development with co-financing from UNWomen, it will ensure gender-responsive National Adaptation Plans and Sectoral Adaptation plans.

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The sectors which will be given priority are Fisheries, Water and Agriculture.

During the online meeting there was a presentation on EnGenDER by Massimiliano Tozzi of the UNDP.

The meeting also featured parliamentarians, technical staff, and civil society of the Americas and the Caribbean and was coordinated by UN Women, the Parliament of Saint Lucia and ParlAmericas.

Participating countries included Belize, Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Guyana, Bermuda, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Haiti, Suriname, The Bahamas, Montserrat, Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis, British Virgin Islands, Saint Lucia, Canada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Turks and Caicos.

The opening remarks were delivered by Tonni Brodber, Head of Office, UN Women Multi-Country Office for the Caribbean and Saint Lucia’s speaker of the House of Assembly Hon. Andy Daniel.

The engaging discussions were led by Hon. Gale Rigobert who in her introductory remarks stated that gender-responsiveness, disaster resilience and the COVID-19 crisis are all concepts that are current and urgent.

“Together, they create an urgent call for action, action that is rooted in saving lives and livelihoods of people, whilst leaving no one behind. Our very survival as small island developing states rests upon our ability to navigate these three dimensions in our planning. Our sustainable future literally depends on gender-responsive planning and budgeting and a focus on disaster resilience,” she went on to say.

“COVID-19 has given the world a wake-up call. Not only has it shrank the world’s population and brought every country on one agenda at the same time, but it has placed differential gender impacts of hazards in the spotlight and has brought a dimension to disaster resilience which in hindsight should never have been a gap in the first place,” Dr. Rigobert lamented.

The Minister went on to stress the timeliness of the session. “The health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis cannot be seen in a vacuum. These impacts play out differently for different groups of people and, as is the case with other disasters, building resilience must focus on addressing, reducing and if possible eliminating altogether the inequalities that it can deepen and create.”

She affirmed that not only should the ensuing presentations be a cause for reflection, but more importantly be seen as a call for action on the part of parliamentarians to be transformational leaders in a time that requires creativity, vision and empathy.

During his remarks Hon. Andy G. Daniel, Speaker of the Parliament of Saint Lucia, stated; “it is a truism that no man is an island therefore, we must all develop partnerships to achieve our individual goals. Let us continue through teamwork to work together in realizing a common vision. As we double our efforts to direct our individual accomplishments toward our organizational objectives, let this serve as the fuel that allows our common aspirations to attain uncommon positive results.”

“This focused support at a sub-regional level and from a gender perspective is highly valuable for us as decision-makers as we work to ensure our region continues to progress towards sustainable development and equality for all,” Hon. Andy Daniel said.

In highlighting the impacts of COVD 19 on Saint Lucia’s GDP and tourism he said; “the data informs us that the impact of Covid-19 has resulted in approximately 14,000 jobs lost in the tourism industry with over 75% being women in the case of Saint Lucia.”

He went on to state, ”further, we must, therefore, be knowledgeable on the differentiated impacts these disasters, crisis and climate change can have on different groups of women, men, girls and boys so we understand how within the parliament, within our governments, and within our societies we can best respond to and accommodate these differentiated needs.”

The meeting also benefitted from the presentation of tools for parliamentarians by Hon. Andy Daniel who is also the Vice-President for the Caribbean of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change.

Among the other matters discussed were gender inequality in disaster and crisis situations, differences between hazard types and national response methods and addressing the inequalities through disaster and crisis prevention, response and recovery.

The organizers on Friday July 31 wrote to Dr. Rigobert to express their sincerest appreciation for her participation.

“Your excellent moderation and knowledgeable reflections throughout the meeting contributed meaningfully to the meeting’s objective of building understanding of the importance of inclusive planning for prevention, response, and recovery measures. Participants from various parliaments and sectors gained new insight on how to ensure that all members of the public are protected, with resources strategically allocated based on their differentiated needs,” the letter read in part.

The activity was made possible through the generous financial support of the Government of Canada.

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.


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