COP 21: Breaking the silos for a healthier planet - addressing reproductive health matters to build climate resilient communities

December 2, 2015


PSN is the secretariat of the Population and Sustainable Development Alliance. On 1st December PSN joined several PSDA member organisations at the COP 21 climate change conference in Paris, for a side-event focusing on the importance of access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in building climate resilient communities.

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PSDA panel members at COP21

Showcasing integrated PHE successes

The event brought together several PSDA member organisations, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), the Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW) and PHE Ethiopia Consortium to present evidence and experiences on the importance of access to SRHR in building climate resilient communities.

Panellists presented the Population, Health and Environment (PHE) approach, which is being implemented in many countries around the world as a means to effectively link population and climate change with positive impacts for the most vulnerable populations and environments.

Dr Doreen Othero, LVBC, presented a video highlighting the successes that PHE programmes have had in the countries in which LVBC operates, including Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi. LVCB’s PHE programmes have a wide-reach and are targeting the most remote areas of this region.

“PHE programmes save organisations and communities time and resources as they are multi-disciplinary, integrated development programmes, thus also generating great community support” said Dr Othero.

Results from the LVBC region demonstrate that men are 40% more likely to support family planning programmes after having been involved in PHE programmes. Furthermore, women involved in PHE programmes are 4 times more likely to earn an income than those who are not involved.

COP 21 sign croppedDr. Manivone Thikeo, a researcher from ARROW, discussed her ongoing research on the link between health, and in particular women’s health, and climate change. She urged that increased attention must be paid to the particular negative effects of climate change on people’s health in developing countries, reminding us that “we are fighting for our health here and not just to reduce emissions”.

Ms Nalini Singh, ARROW, reinforced the importance of taking into account women’s needs in the face of climate change, especially as “many women around the world are already experiencing the drastic gendered effects of climate change disasters”.

Negash Teklu, PHE Ethiopia Consortium, presented evidence from Ethiopia. He remarked that Ethiopia was prone to drought and famine because the social, environmental and economic needs of the people and the country were not considered in an integrated manner. PHE programmes in Ethiopia are being implemented in the most over-populated and degraded areas. He also emphasised the importance of a rights-based approach to SRHR within PHE programmes and in development programmes in general.

A call to action

Alison Marshall, IPPF, moderated this multi-disciplinary panel and closed with a call to action to all participants: to speak to members of their delegations to raise awareness and understanding about the inter-linkages between population, health and environment, and the relevance of SRHR in climate change discussions.

Listen to the podcast

Listen to a recording of the event (Unfortunately, due to technical issues experienced by the venue organisers, a complete recording of the event is not available and we regret that Dr. Manivone Thikeo is not featured on this recording).