PESHAWAR (INP): As Pakistan continues to face the effects of complex emergencies and natural disasters, very little importance has been given to the role of women in the process of social reconstruction. This was highlighted by several speakers during the launch of UN Women’s program on “Women Leadership in Social Reconstruction”, which is being financially supported by the Government of Denmark.
The launching ceremony was hosted by the Social Welfare and Women’s Empowerment Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in collaboration with UN Women.
Addressing the participants, Danish Ambassador Mr. Jesper Moller Sorensen stated that “every time there is a disaster or conflict, it is the women who immediately come on the frontline to take care of their families – whether it is the young, the elderly, the sick or those living with disabilities. They are the most affected. They need the most support.” The Danish Ambassador also highlighted that in vulnerable countries such as Pakistan, it was even more critical to understand the gender implications during and after natural disasters and crisis “By integrating gender concerns in the mainstream planning of peace, security and humanitarian actions, we do we not only promote women leadership and participation – we also build communities and countries in becoming disaster resilient”, said Ambassador Sorensen.
Ms. Sangeeta Thapa, Deputy Country Representative, UN Women Pakistan, highlighted that the program aims at responding directly to equality principles expressed in Pakistan’s Constitution, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and others signed by the Government of Pakistan within the framework of Social Reconstruction. “To us, the social reconstruction process means to facilitate the reintegration of dislocated persons into their homes and villages and revitalize socio-economic activities in the region. In the context of gender, it means empowering women enough to be able to affectively participate in the decision making process at all levels of relief and rehabilitation”, said Ms. Thapa. She appreciated the Government of Denmark for extending its support, which would give continuity to UN Women’s work in ensuring that peace and security, and humanitarian actions are shaped by the leadership and participation of women, including grass root women.
Dr. Mehar Taj Roghani, Special Advisor to the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Social Welfare and Women’s Empowerment stated that serious gaps existed in emergency preparedness and disaster risk management capacities. She appreciated the collective partnership to overcome these gaps in promoting stabilization and, peace and security in the region.