This brief considers how climate change will affect universal access to SRHR and that the implications have profound ramifications for the new developmental era.
Globally, we are already witnessing and experiencing the onset of climate change. There is mounting evidence that climate change will have disastrous consequences for people and the planet. Climate change is one of the central challenges of our time . It refers to the increasingly erratic weather patterns, rising sea levels and extreme events such as cyclones, floods, droughts, desertification, and heat waves that may be attributed to human activity and the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that have created global warming. The effects of climate change extend beyond the environment and come with a broader set of socio-economic and political consequences. Climate change will exacerbate already precarious developmental concerns, and could potentially reverse progress on the Millennium Development Goals. It will be a severe impediment to efforts aimed at eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable methods of production and consumption. Moreover, human rights, including sexual and reproductive rights, will be adversely impacted if swift action is not taken to mitigate the human impact of climate change. Climate change also has significant impact on human health. It puts pressures on the fundamental requirements of good health clean air, safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and sufficient food.
As the world continues to experience incremental yet unpredictable climate change, the inter-linkages with sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) is an emerging issue that needs to be addressed in the context of sustainable development. This brief will consider how climate change will affect universal access to SRHR and that the implications have profound ramifications for the new developmental era.
As discussion progresses in the post-2015 development process, and as member states redefine a new set of strategic priorities in the post MDG era, it is critical that member states consider how climate change will influence their own development. It remains critical that their efforts at curbing climate change do not erode their commitments towards universal access to SRHR. Within the climate and environment discourse, it is essential to ensure that local and national and regional voices that employ a gender and rights approach are being heard.
The international communities understanding of climate change impact is very different today than 20 years ago when these global goals and commitments were agreed to in Rio in 1992 and in Cairo in 1994, however some of the challenges remain and there is an unfinished agenda on SRHR. Civil society and some government’s demands include a call for sustainable development goals and post-2015 development framework that has gender equality and SRHR at its core.
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