As the world battles and recovers from the recurring COVID-19 pandemic and governments look to implement policies to rebuild a better and greener environment, we are also directly affected by another world crisis climate change and the effect it has on women’s health, rights, and equality. Climate change exacerbates pre-existing security flaws and social inequality, including gender inequalities, frequently having a negative impact on women and girls.

Gender-based abuse and harmful practices, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation are on the rise in climate-affected populations. Climate-related emergencies also cause significant interruptions in the accessibility of sexual and reproductive health services and life-saving medicines, including for maternal health care, contributing to an increased risk of maternal and newborn causalities.

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All leaders play a critical role in guaranteeing that climate adaptation, emergency planning and response, and initial recovery efforts are climate-resilient and inclusive. This will ensure that women have access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive information, as well as maternal health, family planning, and protection services. This, in turn, will empower women and girls to protect their rights, make choices, and realize their potential, while also strengthening the ability of climate-affected communities to respond.

As women continue to be on the battlefront of the pandemic and climate crisis, whether as healthcare professionals, community organizers, educators, or unpaid caregivers. there is an urgent need to strengthen the resilience of women and girls at all levels of society to combat any disaster and ensure their access to sexual and reproductive health support and facilities.

To ensure a better and more sustainable future for all, it is critical to speed up transformational progress, such as through maternal health and family planning services, increased sexual and reproductive health-related decision-making, and by reinforcing policies, organizations, and feminist and youth networks to promote and protect these concerns in order to build adaptable societies, particularly in the context of climate change.

To that end, the United Nations agency for sexual and reproductive health is working to create a world in which women can take the lead in ensuring a sustainable future. On International Women’s Day, Agency calls on all government entities to join its attempts and invest in achieving global access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, such as ensuring meaningful participation of women and girls in climate action by changing and working cooperatively with excluded groups and people and promoting gender equity in all life choice spaces.