BUILDING RESILIENC E NEEDS TO BE GENDER SENSITIVE

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1 Ambassador Haifa Abu Ghazaleh Assistant secretary general League of Arab state BUILDING RESILIENC E NEEDS TO BE GENDER SENSITIVE August 8th 2015 Resilience is the ability of an individual, a household, a community, a country or a region to resist, adapt, and quickly recover from a disaster or crisis such as scarcity, violence, conflict or natural disaster

2 ABSTRACT In October 2012, the European Commission published a Communication on The EUEuropean Union approach to resilience. Were they defined resilience as follows : Resilience is defined as the ability of an individual, a household, a community, a country or a region to withstand, to adapt, and to quickly recover from stresses and shocks. The concept of resilience has two dimensions: the inherent strength of an entity an individual, a household, a community or a larger structure to better resist stress and shock and the capacity of this entity to bounce back rapidly from the impact. Increasing resilience (and reducing vulnerability) can therefore be achieved either by enhancing the entity s strength, or by reducing the intensity of the impact, or both. It requires a multifaceted strategy and a broad systems perspective aimed at both reducing the multiple risks of a crisis and at the same time improving rapid coping and adaptation mechanisms at local, national and regional level. Strengthening resilience lies at the interface of humanitarian and development assistance. The three key principles of an approach to resilience are (a) to anticipate crises by assessing risks, (b) to focus on prevention and readiness, and (c) to enhance response to crisis. Given the substantive context, it is not surprising that resilience has deep roots in thinking about linking relief, rehabilitation and development, Resilience has been a useful concept in bringing together shortterm emergency response and interventions (such as Disaster risk reduction, DRR) and a longer-term development agenda, as well as sharpening the focus on sustainability. In today s economic 1

3 environment, we don t want to have to return to disaster sites every other year, but to build resilience within the communities Note Dr Christophe Béné of the Institute of development studies IDS, Resilience to disaster is about coping with a disruptive event and the ability of individuals and communities to bounce back. This is important, but does not equate to poverty reduction. Indeed, you can strengthen the resilience of a woman living on the streets of any crisis country, but making her resilient to chronic poverty is not the same as lifting her out of poverty eventually, you want poverty alleviation, he says. Syria and other Arab countries has been affected by a number of disasters in recent years natural, economic and conflict-related drawing attention to the region s vulnerability and pushing disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience up development and policymaking agendas. Building resilience in communities is about providing women in Syria and Neighboring countries with the opportunity to enhance what they are already doing to cope and recover in the face of quickonset disasters. This needs to take place alongside continued poverty reduction efforts to effect transformative change. Syrian Women as transformational & powerful agents in community resilience : The role of Syrian women in disaster risk reduction DRR and building resilient communities has received less attention than it deserves. Among other reasons, limited mobility and the socially assigned role of Syrian women as carers have rendered them more vulnerable than men when disaster strikes. Yet evidence also points towards the ability of women to lead the preparation and response to disruptive events. The intimate front-line knowledge that Syrian women have of their local environment suggests enormous capacity for them to be transformational agents in community disaster planning and 2

4 preparedness and to play a significant role in bolstering resilience. Women in Syria face a number of socio-cultural and economic barriers to exercising this potential. Empower Syrian women to build disaster resilience at the community level need to improve the bargaining power of women, through economic empowerment, by improving access to finance and by involving them in local planning as decision-makers. Emphasize Syrian women s capacity for leadership and their right to be included in disaster risk reduction DRR activities as much as reducing their vulnerability, The emphasis in current policy planning is very much on reducing vulnerabilities, while the leadership skills that women have exactly those that are required in disaster management are largely untapped. Rather than simply being viewed as a group to whom services need to be delivered, women should have the right to be included in, and take leadership of, disaster risk reduction DRR planning and resilience building. Match disaster risk reduction DRR and resilience building with broader efforts for poverty reduction and sustainable development Building resilience in communities is about providing Syrian women with the opportunity to enhance their capacity to cope and recover in the face of quick-onset disasters; it might not lead to a material improvement in their lives. Gender-sensitive disaster risk reduction DRR policy therefore needs to take place alongside continued poverty reduction efforts to effect transformative change. Obstacles to Syrian women s disaster resilience building: In Syria today, the daily socio-economic inequality experienced by women can hinder their capacity for survival and the ability to recover after disruptive events. At the same time, inequality of opportunity to participate in institutions for disaster risk reduction DRR planning limits the contribution that they can make to resilience building, and impedes their involvement in decision- 3

5 making and planning. This creates a vicious circle for Syrian women who are not only more adversely affected by disasters as a result, but also prohibited from contributing to building up the resilience of their communities. We can identified three main obstacles to gender resilience building in Syria: (a) slow decision-making procedures, (b) choice of implementing partners and (c) the ability to mobilize resources through appropriate instruments, Moreover: Women are less able to contribute to household and neighbourhood-level disaster risk reduction DRR and recovery Women s contribution and voice is not recognized Women s needs for DRR projects and programmes (i.e. gender-sensitive nfrastructure) are not reflected. Women are affected more adversely in disasters. Limitation to building capacity for survival, recovery and rebuilding from disruptive events. Institutional barriers. Economic and social inequalities. Recommended steps for building Gender-sensitive resilience Endorse the recommendation ideas & call that the output of the 5 working groups be linked to the resilience principles of action of the resilience agenda and action plan of this forum. A: Address implementation challenges in the coordination and decentralization of disaster planning A: Assign accountability to stakeholders for gender specific resilience risk RR targets 4

6 A: ANALYSE gender differences: Interventions are designed based on a gender analysis. A: Asset-building efforts are designed in such a way as to not interfere or compete with women s other productive and reproductive activities. A: ACCESS for women, girls, boys and men: Information, training and technologies used in developing capacity are accessible and relevant to all stakeholders. A: ADDRESS GBV: We know that in the context of displacement resulting from a disaster,gbv, including sexual violence, exploitation and abuse, is a high-risk problem. All activities must identify any possible negative, unintended effects or attempt to mitigate against them as much as possible. B: Build a Women s Resilience Index WRI a benchmark tool that measures and compares the disaster resilience of crisis countries that draws upon a range of indicators in four categories Economic, Infrastructure, Institutional and Social C: COLLECT, analyse and report sex- and age-disaggregated data: When indicators are disaggregated for sex, age and other contextually relevant variables, they provide clear indications of where interventions are needed. D:Develop gender-specific and sex-disaggregated data in monitoring and evaluation D: DESIGN: Humanitarian interventions are designed to ensure women, girls, boys and men can benefit E: Empower women to build disaster resilience at the community level. F: Formulate a gender knowledge base crises platform. 5

7 F: Formulate effective strategies to enhance the abilities of women, to build their resilience to the uncertain economic, social and environmental risks that they confront. F: Formulate a regional Gender resilience Civil society alliance M: Move the narrative of women in disasters from one of vulnerability to resilience and leadership. M: Mapping crisis country profile with gender equality lens P: PARTICIPATION: Women and men participants are equally involved in vulnerability assessments and in the prioritization and design of resilience-based pilot initiative. R: Recognize that disaster resilience is not poverty reduction but has a critical interplay with sustainable development T: TRAIN women and men equally: Train all staff, including those from private-sector partners, to mainstream gender considerations in project implementation. T: TARGET actions based on gender analysis: Set specifi c targets for the proportion of women participants in decisionmaking structures and in the project as a whole. Ensure that their capacities are built to meaningfully contribute to decision-making if there are gaps or cultural barriers. Conclusion I have two Question: First Question: How can the UN and the neighboring countries take forward the resilience agenda: Resilience action plan is needed in Syria, Second Question: How to Introduce the Gender resilience paradigm, Reviews the lessons of experience, in Syria who live 6

8 under conflict & crisis, proposes some general principles, to increase resilience in disaster-prone countries. Thank you Ambassador Haifa Abu Ghazaleh Assistance secretary general League of Arab state 7

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