Women and Girls as Invincible Forces of Resilience

Oct 12, 2012

The 6th National Conference on Disaster Risk Management, held today at the Hilton Hotel Addis Ababa was the highlight of Ethiopia’s annual celebration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction in 2012.

At the global level the day seeks to acknowledge and appreciate the millions of women and girls who make their communities more resilient to disasters and climate risks and thus reap the benefits of and protect their development investments.

However, too much of the work and achievements of women is of low-visibility and taken for granted. “We need to move on from referring to women and girls as the Invisible but rather start acknowledging them as the invincible force of resilience.” noted Ms. Alessandra Tisot, UNDP Country Director in her key note address. She added, “We need to hold up and advocate for an approach that sees women as meaningful contributors, appreciating their energy, commitment, creativity and positive dedication.”

This was further emphasized by the message from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, where he noted that efforts on advancing the understanding of how communities can benefit from encouraging women to take leadership roles in disaster risk reduction, will only become more valuable as climate change intensifies and as the world struggles to cope with extreme weather and disasters that affect an average more than 200 million people annually.

Ethiopia aims to achieve sustainable economic development through a climate resilient and green economy agenda, providing affirmative action in allowing women and girls to participate and get involved is strategic and makes a lot of sense from an economic point of view. His Excellency, Mr. Mitiku Kassa, State Minister of DRMFFS at Ministry of Agriculture further emphasized the commitment of Ethiopia by saying: “I would like to strongly emphasize that the Government of Ethiopia supports and is committed to the development and realization of the full potential of women so that they can fully participate with men in political, social and economic life. The draft revised DRM Policy and Strategy reinforces the achievement of this by providing for mainstreaming of gender in DRM and encouraging full participation of women and girls in all stages of DRM.”

The event was organized by The Disaster Risk Management Food Security Sector (DRMFSS) in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and 17 other organizations (Government, UN, and NGO). It featured selected paper presentations on disaster risk management (DRM) representing the government sector, UN agencies, International NGOs partners, and National NGOs. It also exhibited and showcased various initiatives on DRM in Ethiopia and globally by partner organizations.

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