- Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
- Stakeholder type: Major Group
- Submission Document: Download
- Additional Document:
Submission to the Compilation Document in preparation of the Zero Draft Outcome Document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development
Women Deliver is a global advocacy organization bringing together voices from around the world to call for action against maternal death. The health of girls and women is a cross-cutting issue, and particularly relates to sustainable development goals. A sustainable planet requires all of its inhabitants to commit to a green lifestyle. For that to occur, there must be recognition that girls and women are those most affected by air pollution, unclean or scarce water, and are the demographic predominantly working in tourism and on small farms. Therefore, their health and empowerment is a key component of any effort to promote sustainable development. Their needs must be addressed and they must be actively involved in ongoing and future efforts.
Our key recommendations are as follows:
? Include girls and women as primary stakeholders, consultants and decision-makers in developing sustainable programs and policies.
o The agricultural sector uses 70% of all water worldwide, and the majority of smallholder farms (especially in Africa) are women-owned. Women need information on and access to sustainable irrigation. By fostering greater access to capital through microfinance, women farmers can then invest in sustainable tools and technologies.
o Women constitute 60-70% of the labor force of the tourism industry, one of the primary drivers of the growth for the world economy. There are tremendous opportunities in developing tourism to be more sustainable by regulating energy and GHG emissions, water consumption, waste management, protection of biological diversity and cultural heritages. By engaging women as agents of change, we can realize success in this arena.
? Improve girls and women?s access to fresh water and safe drinking water.
o Girls and women are the primary family members tasked with fetching water for their household. Improving access to drinking water cuts down on the time spent obtaining it, which then frees up girls and women?s schedules to care for their families and work for additional income. Also, improving access cuts down on the distance girls and women need to walk alone and often in dark, remote areas which puts them at risk for sexual assault.
o There are existing solutions out there, such as the Lifestraw developed by Vestergaard Frandsen, which provides point-of-use water treatment in the home. We need to share experiences and lessons learned on these types of life-saving solutions, and also cultivate the development of new innovations.
? Promote the use of clean household fuels.
o Smoke exposure from traditional cookstoves and household fires cause 1.3 million premature deaths annually. As women and children are inside the home for most of the day, they are most affected by toxic fumes which can lead to emphysema, lung cancer, cardiovascular disease and cataracts, as well as low birth weight for infants born to mothers exposed to these fuels.
o Relying on biomass for cooking and other household needs places a heavy burden on the environment and depletes natural resources. Furthermore, it requires girls and women to spend many hours a day collecting firewood which both drains their hours for income generation and also places them at risk of violence.
o The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a public-private partnership calling for 100 million homes to be provided with clean and efficient stoves and fuels by 2020. By utilizing gas, liquid, solar or processed solid fuel, this solution promotes sustainability, enables girls and women to spend less time preparing and cooking food, and increases girls? and women?s health and well-being throughout the life-cycle.