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The Climate Crisis in Fiji: The Grim Realities and Available Opportunities for Gender and Climate Justice

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Women’s Empowerment and Its Limits
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Abstract

This chapter outlines the gendered dimension of climate change and disasters by using the Pacific as a case study. When we look at the context of gender, climate change and disasters only deepen existing inequalities for women and girls. Many women and girls are more likely to live in poverty than men and have limited access to resources, land and assets, and there are also the cultural, attitudinal and institutional barriers that affect women’s ability to participate in decision making, especially around building resilience. As such, it is imperative that laws and policies around climate change and disaster risk reduction and management recognize the inequalities and vulnerabilities of women and girls to ensure that there is a targeted approach to supporting the strengthening of women’s resilience. These underlying issues mean that in the context of climate change and disasters, women will struggle significantly compared to men. Fiji is made up of many small islands that are prone to natural disasters and the impacts of climate change, that is sea-level rise, ocean warming, tropical cyclones, floods and droughts. These challenges are felt across many communities and villages because of adverse weather conditions resulting in damaged food crops, homes being destroyed, small businesses shutting down, food insecurity and other interlinked vulnerabilities.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    This chapter draws upon the Author’s contibution to the Asian Development Bank’s report on “Women’s Resilience in Fiji: How Laws and Policies Promote Gender Equality in Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management” (2022) and the paper (Nalini Singh, ‘Women’s Resilience to Disasters and Climate Change’) presented at the sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women that took place from 14 to 25 March 2022. The paper has been discussed as part of the Expert Group Meeting: Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.

  2. 2.

    IPCC (2022).

  3. 3.

    Pill (2020).

  4. 4.

    Government of Fiji. Advisory Group for the Fiji National Action Plan. 2019.

  5. 5.

    SPC’s Suva Regional Office, Beijing+25: Review of progress in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action in Pacific Island countries and territories Suva, Fiji, 2021.

  6. 6.

    Ibid.

  7. 7.

    ‘Report on violence against women and girls in the context of the climate crisis, including environmental degradation and related disaster risk mitigation and response’ submitted by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, UN Doc. A/77/136, 11 July 2022.

  8. 8.

    Prevention web (2021).

  9. 9.

    Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) (2017).

  10. 10.

    UN Secretary General, 2022. The Report on the ‘Women in Development’.

  11. 11.

    Asian Development Bank (2022), p. 3.

  12. 12.

    ibid.

  13. 13.

    ibid.

  14. 14.

    Government of Fiji (2017).

  15. 15.

    CEDAW/C/SR.1578 (2018).

  16. 16.

    Asian Development Bank (2022), p. 22.

  17. 17.

    Ibid., p. 22.

  18. 18.

    CEDAW/C/SR.1578 (2018).

  19. 19.

    Sima Bahous, Statement, October 2022.

  20. 20.

    See the extensive analysis provided by the Asian Development Bank (2022), p. 22.

  21. 21.

    Currently, both these initiatives are under review.

  22. 22.

    Fiji Climate Change Portal. https://fijiclimatechangeportal.gov.fj/. Accessed 31 October 2022.

  23. 23.

    Asian Development Bank (2022), p. 22.

  24. 24.

    Ibid.

  25. 25.

    Government of Fiji. Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation (2018).

  26. 26.

    Asian Development Bank (2022).

  27. 27.

    Asian Development Bank (2022).

  28. 28.

    CEDAW/C/FJI/CO/5 (2018).

  29. 29.

    World Economic Forum (2017).

  30. 30.

    Commonwealth Local Government Forum (2010).

  31. 31.

    World Bank Group. Gender Data Portal. https://genderdata.worldbank.org/. Accessed 31 October 2022.

  32. 32.

    Asian Development Bank (2022), p. 14.

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Correspondence to Nalini Singh .

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Singh, N. (2023). The Climate Crisis in Fiji: The Grim Realities and Available Opportunities for Gender and Climate Justice. In: Fornalé, E., Cristani, F. (eds) Women’s Empowerment and Its Limits. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-29332-0_6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-29332-0_6

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

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