UN Women supports a declaration on disaster risk manangement by women from earthquake worse affected districts

Date: Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Author: Monica Upadhyay

Kathmandu, Nepal – Over 100 women from 14 earthquake worst affected districts jointly issued the Kathmandu Declaration on disaster risk management during the second day of the two day national conference on Women in Gender Responsive Disaster Management organised by different women groups with support from UN Women Nepal and IM Swedish Development Partner.

National Conference on Women in Gender Responsive Disaster Management. Photo: UN Women

The 15-point Kathmandu Declaration 2016 calls for a gender-responsive reconstruction approach, programmes that offers economic empowertment opportunities to women affected by earthquake, special package for women with disabilities and those from the marginalised community, and 50 percent women representaion in the National Reconstruction Authority at all levels.

Addressing the concluding ceremony of the two day national conference, Minister for Home Affairs, Shakti Basnet said, “The constitution of Nepal guarantees the fundamental right of women to participate in all state organs, this is applicable to the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) as well. It is welcoming that we have two women representatives in the advisory committee of the NRA. However, it is essential to have women in the NRA at all levels, including in the executive and directive committees to address issues specific to women, and therefore I will take up the issue of women representation in the NRA to the cabinet.” Minister Shakti Basnet further stresssed that women are critical partners for success, and they have the right to participate in the decision-making on how and where resources should be allocated in all recovery and reconstruction related programmes.

Speaking at the same programme, the Representative of UN Women Nepal, Ziad Seikh said, “Disasters have been found to reinforce, perpetuate and increase gender inequality and women’s potential contributions to disaster risk reduction are often overlooked and female leadership in building community resilience frequently disregarded. Strengthening the role of women and girls in disaster risk reduction is critical for achieving gender equality and empowerment and building disaster resilience of communities.” Representative Ziad Seikh also expressed UN Women’s commitment to ensure maximum women’s participation in all recovery and reconstruction efforts. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, UN Women Nepal provided technical support to women’s organisations to develop a Common Charter of Demands for gender equality and women’s empowerment in the humanitarian response.

Chair of the Core group of Women’s organisations currently working on disaster risk reduction, Ms Chadani Joshi said, “Today I am happy to see women from 14 earthquake affected districts demand the government their full participation in all reconstruction and recovery related programmes. I am very hopeful that this conference together with the Common Charter of Demands for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women in the humanitarian response and the Kathmandu Declaration on disaster risk management announced today will provide vital guidance on gender in disaster to all and inform the Government of Nepal.” Chairperson Chadani Joshi also requested UN Women Representative to share the declaration with the wider UN community and other development partners. The Core group of Women Organisation working on disaster that Chadni Joshi chairs comprise of Jagaran Nepal, Home Net South Asia, Beyond Beijing Committee, Media Action group (MAG), Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD), Feminist Dalit Organisation (FEDO), Women for Human Rights (WHR), and SAATHI.

Meanwhile, Dr Bishnu Bhandari, member of the National Reconstruction Authority NRA said, “The Kathmandu declaration on disaster risk management has been issued at an appropriate time. It is a useful guidance to make the earthquake relief distribution and reconstruction work women centric.”

Similarly, Sharmila Karki, Member of the Advisory Council of the NRA and Chairperson of Jagaran Nepal said, “Lessons from Nepal provide essential guidance for ongoing efforts in Nepal, the region, and globally to ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment is central in humanitarian action. The experiences from this National Conference, for example, could inform UN Women Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on gender and risk reduction (Vietnam, April 2016), and the Asia Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (New Delhi, November 2016).”

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, UN Women through its established partnership with women’s groups, distributed non-food items, provided psychosocial counselling and established five multi-purpose women centres and three information centres reaching approx. 42,703 affected women. It made significant contributions to humanitarian results by ensuring the Government and UN’s response to the 2015 earthquakes integrated women’s empowerment and gender equality.

For more information:

Please contact: Monica Upadhyay
Communications Officer, UN Women Nepal Country Office.
Email: monica.upadhyay@unwomen.org