Women’s affairs ministers from Commonwealth nations have committed to a roadmap that aims to increase efforts towards achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls, particularly in the context of climate action.
The roadmap resulted from a three-day meeting among ministers at their triennial Commonwealth gathering in The Bahamas, and was informed by various stakeholders, including women with disabilities, civil society representatives, and survivors of domestic violence.
As part of the roadmap, women’s affairs ministers have pledged to improve efforts to address inequality in several Commonwealth priority areas over the next few years.
These include giving women a more significant role in climate finance, providing more support for women with disabilities, increasing economic opportunities for women, enhancing their representation in decision-making, and providing greater protection against gender-based violence.
The outcome statement issued by ministers representing 2.5 billion Commonwealth people encapsulates the roadmap.
Next year, leaders will consider the roadmap at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa. Speaking after the meeting, Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, stated that the roadmap was “incredibly important” as millions of women and girls “are disproportionately impacted by injustice, climate change, violence, and discrimination.”
She further added that the Commonwealth is determined to lead by example towards ensuring that women and girls are not left behind in efforts to achieve sustainable development and climate justice.
To support the implementation of the roadmap, ministers have endorsed a framework for reporting on Commonwealth priorities for gender equality.
The Commonwealth Secretariat will use this framework to regularly assess progress based on set indicators and coordinate necessary measures through a ministerial action group aimed at tackling challenges that disrupt the positive momentum.
Recognizing that climate change affects women and girls disproportionately, ministers shared good practices that support them in overcoming the impacts in their respective countries.
Ministers and senior officials have also called on the Commonwealth to advocate for an inclusive ‘Loss and Damage Fund’ that equally supports the needs of women and girls.
The Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting was hosted by the Government of The Bahamas from August 21 to 23, 2023, in the capital, Nassau.