Nigeria reviews draft policy on Gender in Disaster Risk Management

Jun 2, 2017

Participants gather in Kuru-Jos to review the draft policy on Gender in DRR (Photo, UNDP Nigeria)

Stakeholders met at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), in Kuru-Jos, Plateau State for a two-day Workshop whose objective was to review the draft policy on Gender in Disaster Risk Management in Nigeria. The workshop, organized by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was to conduct a technical assessment and review of the draft policy with a view to enriching it ahead of a broader national stakeholder validation meeting.

The draft policy is geared towards strengthening technical support and institutional capacity to effectively address gender issues within emergency response and recovery programmes by integrating them in emergency management planning, decision making, policy development and service delivery. It also aims at strengthening the capability of men and women, as individuals and in communities, for self-use, rapid and effective response as well long term recovery. Implementation of the policy will also support efforts aimed at ensuring that disaster management in the country is fully responsive to the needs, concerns and priorities of women as well as men before, during and after disaster occurs.

Several studies conducted have shown that natural disasters and their subsequent impact, on average, do more harm to women than men. It therefore becomes imperative that special attention is paid to the need to enhance women’s capacity that will enable them manage risks, with a view to reducing their vulnerability and maintaining or increasing their opportunities for development.

Women are seldom represented in disaster management decision-making bodies and their needs and interests are rarely addressed. Their access to early-warning systems is also often minimal.

Despite their recognised role played in communities and households, especially during disasters, and even though their vulnerability to disasters is usually highlighted, women’s actual and potential roles in disaster risk reduction are often overlooked.

The aim of the Gender in Disaster Management Policy is to improve disaster management in the country through the incorporation of gender-aware and gender-responsive principles and practices into National Disaster Management Framework. It envisions a nation where communities and emergency managers are better able to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters in a holistic, sustainable and development-oriented manner.

The policy provides gender-related guidelines within four priority action areas that reflect the global best practices highlighted under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Management 2015-2030. The GMDP priority areas also key into the seven (7) focal areas and sufficiency criteria outlined under the National Disaster Management Framework which stipulates the institutional, operational and strategic guidelines for holistic and integrated disaster management in the country.

The draft policy document reflects the opinions of disaster professionals and experts, as well as the voices of women, men, girls and boys who experienced disaster. It promotes a holistic and integrated response to the needs, concerns and priorities of those most vulnerable to or most affected by hazards and disasters. It complements the existing National Disaster Management Framework by addressing gender dimensions of risk and disaster within diverse Nigerian contexts. Most importantly, it sets out appropriate strategies for a gender-responsive disaster management system within a multi-level, multi-stakeholder and joint-action framework.

The workshop brought together 40 gender and DRR experts who were carefully selected to take part in the policy review workshop at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru, Jos - Plateau State. The review workshop held on the 1st - 2nd June, 2017.  The Workshop had a remarkably and impressive attendance with representatives from relevant government MDAs, NGOs, Academia, Media and Development partners among whom were Professors, Former Secretary to the State Government-Plateau State, representative of the Director General NIPSS, representative of the Director General NEMA, representative of the Director General Plateau State Peacebuilding Agency among others.

The meeting was chaired by the Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engr. Mustapha Maihaji, who was represented by the NEMA Zonal Coordinator North Central, Mallam Abdusalam Mohammed. In his address, he stated that for gender perspective to be adopted in disaster management policies in Nigeria “Our interventions shall strike the right balance between men and women by providing them with the same opportunities to ensure equality of outcome and will undoubtedly contribute to the realization of social and economic empowerment for all, especially those affected by disaster.” He stressed that their interventions take the strategic needs of both men and women and emphasized the need for all stakeholders to ensure the implementation of the policy on mainstreaming gender in disaster management when it becomes a working document. Engr. Maihaji also commended UNDP for supporting the agency in its various intervention and encouraged them not to relent in its effort.

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