Empowered Women - Resilient Communities: Women to Take Proactive Role in Disaster Risk Reduction

Mar 22, 2016

UNDP Serbia hosts a two day conference starting today with the aim of summarizing gender mainstreaming entry points in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) systems.

Studies related to gender in emergency situations and DRR as well as the Serbian experience following the 2014 floods have revealed that gender is an important aspect of risk exposure, but is also an important aspect in building resilience.

However, despite global advocacy for gender mainstreaming in DRR there is still a lack of implementation at the national policy level and within DRR practice.

Within the project “Increased Resilience to Respond to Emergency Situations”, funded by the Government of Japan, UNDP Serbia assisted the selected 11 organizations to implement gender in DRR projects in 20 municipalities in Serbia.

Through interventions of gender grantees, the CSOs trained 69 women anti-hail shooters, 22 women rescuers, and through implementation of 38 workshops educated 316 women, 52 children and 120 students on volunteering in emergencies, civic engagement, psycho-social support and how to respond during emergencies.

Selected organizations address various issues, from advocating for establishment of local DRR plans from gender perspective, establishing volunteering centers, empowering women to take proactive role in emergencies, improve the security of women in crisis.

Irena Vojackova-Sollorano, UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia used the opportunity to reiterate UNDP's mission of empowered lives - resilient nations: "Our global mission statement also links to the central theme of this conference today: how do we empower women to ensure resilient communities?

In 2014, Serbia faced one of the most severe floods in its history. The flood affected more than 1.6 million people. The floods, however, had different impacts on men and women. The exposure to risk, perception of risks and the ability to respond in emergencies were different.

The PDNA Report indicated that women were not represented in emergency response planning and decision-making.

In order to address these disproportions UNDP mainstreams gender into disaster management and local resilience programming.  

Mainstreaming gender:

  1. strengthens the resilience of entire communities,
  2. cuts recovery time, and
  3. Leads to more efficient recovery and reconstruction.

This requires the proactive integration of the needs, concerns and capacities of gender groups into planning and implementing disaster reduction and risk management activities.

With support by government of Japan, we were able to work with the national and local government partners in forging new partnerships which will serve local communities well in their efforts to not just build the required physical infrastructure, such as torrential barriers, but also to infuse local planning with the prerequisite gender perspective.

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For further information please call +381 11 2040 410 or write to communications.rs@undp.org  

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