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The United Nations Population Fund is the lead UN agency delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

UNFPA advocates for the importance of gender in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and has increasingly invested in both integrating and mainstreaming gender equality, women rights, family planning, and sexual and reproductive health into DRR strategies.

Worldwide, women are generally overrepresented in the death toll from disasters, due to factors including lack of access to resources and information, gendered social roles, and cultural constraints on their actions. In the aftermath of disasters, women’s reproductive health needs are often neglected, their care burdens are often increased while their mobility is further limited, and they can face heightened risks of sexual assault and violence. They are also typically excluded from planning for disaster preparedness and response.

Gender considerations in the context of disaster management are one of the priorities for sustainable development. Taking a more gender-responsive approach to disaster risk reduction is an important initiative.

UNFPA has focused on priority areas such as countries’ accountability for implementing international commitments to promote gender equality in the context of disaster risk reduction; increased gender equality at all levels of disaster-related decision-making, implementation, coordination and evaluation; and preventing gender discrimination and gender-based violence in order to reduce women’s risks and vulnerabilities during and after disasters.

UNFPA initiated an approach of using population data, environmental data, and other social-economic survey data for climate change policy formulation and adaptation planning. At a detailed level, it shows the resources, services and infrastructure in climate-exposed areas. Furthermore, it shows where vulnerable populations are, what climate change effects they might be vulnerable to, and what resources they have, in order to be resilient in the face of these impacts. Understanding the spatial dynamics of population composition and characteristics is crucial to enhance resilience towards climate change at a local, national and regional level.

All this data can then be used to tailor disaster response plans to the needs of vulnerable populations, and it can be used to plan more sustainable infrastructure and reduce disaster risks.

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CADRI Bulletin 2017

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