The International Centre for Environmental Health and Development (ICEHD) has called on stakeholders to strengthen their capacity to project women’s voices on climate justice publicly.
The Programme Manager of ICEGD, Ms Mercy Joshua made the call at the National Civil Society Consultative Dialogue on Climate Justice And Economic Resilience For Rural Women Farmers at the weekend in Lagos.
He said they should advocate for gender equality to advance women’s rights. “Nigeria’s climate has been changing, evidenced by an increase in temperature, variable rainfall, rise in sea level and flooding, drought and desertification, and land degradation.”
According to Joshua, these changes bring a gendered impact, as it disproportionately affects women and widens gender inequalities.
She noted that women being the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on natural resources, become more vulnerable than men to climate change impacts.
While noting that climate change hits Nigeria, he said small-scale women farmers count losses.
“They play vital roles in agricultural production and are critical to Nigeria’s food security.
“They account for 70 per cent of agricultural workers and 80 percent of food producers but are at the receiving end of the negative impacts of climate change.
“Many states in Nigeria rely on rain-fed agriculture, which makes a larger number of small-scale farmers vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change,” says the programme manager.
Following a series of enquiries and deliberations with women farmers since the project started in 2022 till now, in the North East, North West, North Central, South East, South-South and South West of Nigeria on the climate-related challenges they face.
“This has negatively impacted food security, increased income and financial freedom in the country,” she added.
Joshua also acknowledged that with support from the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), they had embarked on a two-year project on “climate justice and economic resilience for women farmers in Nigeria” (2022-2023).
With centres in Abuja, Lagos, and Akwa Ibom, Joshua stated that the civil society consultative forum is a deliberate engagement with the government officials, media, women farmers’ cooperative representatives and all stakeholders.
According to her, this is to strengthen them through dialogue on strategies for climate change and equal access to resources and agricultural interventions to publicly project women’s voices on climate justice and advocate for gender equality to advance women’s rights.
She described ICEHD as a non-governmental, non-profit organisation established in 2004.