WASHINGTON: Aspen Global Health and Development, the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, and the U.S. Agency for International Development hosted a dialogue with high-level thought leaders and policymakers to explore the hidden opportunity for climate compatible development. Tony Dokoupil, host of MSNBC Shift's Greenhouse, moderated the conversation with the Right Honorable Helen Clark, Administrator for the United Nations Development Programme, the Honorable Julia Duncan-Cassell, Minister of Gender and Development of Liberia, and Dr. Jennifer Adams, Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Global Health at the U.S. Agency for international Development.
By December 2015, world leaders will finalize a new global agreement to address climate change. Ensuring that gender issues and population dynamics are adequately considered in the agreement is critical to its success and sustainability.
"Climate change exacerbates existing vulnerabilities and inequalities, including those related to gender," said the Right Honorable Helen Clark. "With a new climate change agreement due to be agreed in December, and with a new sustainable development agenda due to be agreed in September, we have a chance to join the dots and press forward on gender equality, women's empowerment, and sexual and reproductive health and rights to enable women to play their full role in addressing climate change and other global, national, and local challenges."
"When working on issues like climate change, you have to go back to the community. Involving the community from the local level, teaching them, and empowering them, is how you carry out the message," added the Honorable Julia Duncan-Cassell.
Far too often, climate policy does not sufficiently address sexual and reproductive health or the rights and the role of women in building resilient communities.
"Voluntary family planning is very important: it allows individuals freedom and choice and helps communities develop resilience," said Dr. Jennifer Adams.
Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, established by The Aspen Institute in 2010, is composed of sixteen sitting and former heads of state, high-level policymakers, and other leaders who build political leadership for increased financial and technical support for reproductive health. The Council works to revitalize political commitments to reproductive health by increasing awareness of reproductive health issues, supporting the effective use of donor resources, and championing policies dedicated to achieving universal access to reproductive health.