Climate Variability and Gender: Emerging Experiences From Western Zambia

Catherine Lwando

Abstract


Climate change is one of the greatest environmental challenges. It has posed a serious risk to poverty reduction and development, with adverse impacts expected on the environment, food security and natural resources. There is a strong link between gender and climate change and both are considered as cross cutting issues. However, climate variability and gender has been less attended to in terms of linking climate variability to the process of developing relevant environment and natural resource policies for natural resource dependent communities and most literature has lacked a reflection on the participation process of the natural resource dependent communities in the formulation and implementation of these policies especially at the local level and hence this study. This paper uses Sesheke district in Western Zambia and provides a case study of climate variability and genderand relates it to how the livelihoods of natural resource dependent women and men have been affected in the study area. It further reviews the participation of natural resource dependent communities and gender considerations in the formulation of key policies such as the agriculture and environmental policies in the face of climate variability and how these policies have been implemented in practice at the very local level in terms of a gender-responsive funding allocation and disbursement by government for adaptation activities at local level. The study shows that there has been a significant reduction in the annual rainfall from the year 1970 to 2010 and this has affected both men and women by forcing them to adapt to climate variability by using different means. Results show that climate variability has affected rural livelihoods and this has led to particular effects on gender roles. With regards to policy formulation related to agriculture and natural resources, results have shown that whilst the local people were consulted during the formulation of these policies and have taken into consideration the gender dimensions in terms of providing for the active participation of both women and men, the results have revealed an inadequate and unconsolidated approach to the implementation of the policies coupled with gender blind budgeting and poor funding disbursements to the district.


Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5539/enrr.v3n4p133

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Environment and Natural Resources Research   ISSN 1927-0488 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0496 (Online)

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