Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Religious bodies learn climate change

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By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday September 8, 2010
A gender advocate, Joana Opare says it would be disastrous for policy-makers to undermine women in an effort to combat climate change.

“Women are not passive. They are active agents of change and can easily respond to the challenges being posed by climate change. We should never think about excluding women anytime we take steps to combat climate change and bring about sustainable development.”

Mrs. Opare, who is also the Executive Director of Gender Planning Consults Limited, was speaking at a workshop to build the capacity of Christian and Muslim women in the climate change dialogue.

It was organized by the Christian Council with sponsorship the British Department of International Development (DFID).

Mrs. Opare said the voices of women should be heard in the climate change debate, adding, “We have the power and the ability to spread the message on the dangers of environmental degradation which threatens sustainable development.”

She said climate change was drastically affecting the resources of all countries, stressing that there was likely to be more conflicts if steps are not taken to tackle the menace.

Climate change is forcing countries to alter their development plans. We have to prioritize the issues involved and work assiduously to tackle them, taking into consideration the gender dynamics,” she added.

Reverend Fred Deegbe, General Secretary of the Christian Council who opened the workshop, said the project would empower women to assess the issue of climate change and relate it to the daily struggles of womanhood.

He said “as a network of religious organizations with a large constituency it is important for us to take the mantle and sensitize our women to understand and appreciate the whole issue of climate change and how it is likely to affect issues relating to women and children.”

Rev. Deegbe added “a lot of environmental mishaps have happened without anybody taking steps to connect them to how they are affecting our livelihoods.”

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