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Women in Risk Reduction and Resilience
Stories from Asia - Pacific
Duryog Nivaran & Stakeholder Group on Women and Gender Equality in
the UNISDR Asia Pacific Partnership
Ignite Stage, WCDRR, 15 March 2015
• For HFA2 Key Area 4 Asia Pacific document on
‘Women as a force in resilience building and
gender equity in DRR’, case studies of how
women have been involved in resilience
building in the region were collected to build
the recommendations on proven practice.
• We will present a few success stories from
among the case studies that provided input.
Knowledge – gender
• Is there a gendered knowledge gap?
• If so, do we need to take into account the
knowledge, the perspectives of both when
planning and implementing work that affects
• Let’s listen to our colleague from the Pacific
with a story from Bua that illustrates this.
The gendered knowledge gap in
Bua, Fiji
By Karen Bernard, UNDP Pacific Centre
and Margaret Fox, Wildlife Conservation Society
(WCS)- Fiji Program, presented by Kairangi
Samuela, Punanga Tauturu Inc – Cook Islands
Introducing Bua Province
• Southern coast of Fiji’s second largest island,
Vanua Levu
• 14,176 people in 58 villages
• Subsistence economy, some commercial
fishing and agricultural activities
• Recent incursion of foreign companies
engaged in bauxite mining
• Intermittent gold mining in the adjacent
Wildlife Conservation Society Study, 2011
• Identify, document local practices for climate
change adaptation
• Integrate with science-based solutions
promoting sustainable use and natural systems.
• Household interview survey
• Investigated sea grasses perceptions, current
status along coastline.
• Seagrass is an important habitat for certain
marine life that live in intertidal and shallow
subtidal areas, and is also a food source for
some fish and turtles
• Damage to sea grass is considered as one
indicator of the recent incidence of cyclones,
heavy rainfall and associated flooding.
• Higher percentage of women understood the status and
ecological value of the sea grass, compared with men.
• Women were also able to provide more details about the
abundance, scarcity and/or occasional disappearance of
species such as mussels which grow on the tidal flats (kai
koso) and in the rivers (kai ni waidranu),
• Knew of the presence of mangrove crabs, shrimp, and mud
lobsters in the mangroves
• The women in Bua acquired this knowledge through their
daily subsistence activities, in which they routinely went
out on the tidal flats and nearby areas to collect these sea
creatures, which provide an important source of protein in
their family’s diet.
Gendered division of labour
Men mainly engaged in fishing activities further out
on the ocean,
• such as commercial diving for sea cucumber
• spear fishing for emperors, Spanish mackerel,
lobsters and parrotfish, as well as handline
fishing in the outer reefs or deeper waters for
groupers, barracuda and snappers.
• are more involved in commercial sales of fish,
• in contrast to the women, who focus on
subsistence to feed their families.
• pelagic fish species are quite sensitive to changes
in ocean temperature often associated with
climate change.
• If no sharks are found in a particular stretch of
the ocean, this may signal an absence of fish for
them to feed on,
• Overfishing and destructive fishing practices may
also be aggravating factors.
Implications for Climate Change Analysis
• Recognise that women and men have different
experiences of their environment
• Input from both men and women required to
enrich analysis
• Recognise and understand the diverse cultural
expectations on men and womens roles in the
• Men and women have different indicators and
markers of change
Woman from
Bua Province
capturing a
mud crab. (c)
Rebeca Weeks,
Men from Bua Province harvesting commercially
important invertebrates. (c) Stacy Jupiter,
Wildlife Conservation Society
Women and men of Kubulau District, Bua
Province, reviewing their management rules
together. (c) Stacy Jupiter, Wildlife
Conservation Society
Training: done right, can go a
long way
Case study from India:
An ongoing programme since 2012 for school
teachers, reaching out thousands of teachers
from more than 25 districts of Assam state of
The target
audience is
(many are
Training of officials, especially female officials, within
the implementing organizations/government officials
can make a big difference in participation by
women/girls as well as a project’s success.
Special focus on
girl's participation in
practical exercises
like evacuation drills.
Networking: empowering
decision making
• The community in Thirikovil (Ampara district
Sri Lanka) suffered great losses by tsunami
and years of the armed civil conflict.
Policy to support and guide
context specific gender analysis
in planning
• Japan Women’s Network for Disaster Risk
Reduction ‘How we wrote gender perspective
into Japan’s 6 disaster legislation’
Thank You for Your Interest
For more details, please see:
The publication is available @
Prevention Web