Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow

March 10, 2022

Opening Statement by Resident Representative

A special edition of Bhutan Dialogues to mark International Women's Day 2022



On behalf of UN, UNDP and Loden Foundation, let me welcome you all to the 46th session of Bhutan Dialogues, and convey belated warm wishes to friends and colleagues in Bhutan for the 2022 Losar.

This session has special significance as we are marking the “International Women’s Day”, which was commemorated globally on the 8th of March.

The theme for this year is Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”. It came against the backdrop of our accelerated global efforts to ensure efficient socio-economic recovery from the pandemic for a greener and equitable future.

Gender inequality and the climate crisis are perhaps two of the most significant threats to sustainable development today. It is, therefore, important to understand the nexus between gender equality and climate change for us to implement actions that are responsive to these complex and inter-dependent challenges.

The Gender and Climate Change in Bhutan Study 2020, conducted by the National Commission for Women and Children and National Environment Commission, with support from UNDP, revealed that the impact of climate change is not gender neutral. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by climate change. The adverse consequences of climate change decreased productivity and increased workload for women.

At the same time, globally as well as in Bhutan, we see every day how women play a crucial role in the climate and environmental sectors and how they are often leading frontline natural resource management strategies. This makes women well-placed to identify and implement effective and sustainable solutions, but they are often missing from the space where decisions are being made. Their voices are not heard.

With countries now taking urgent actions in implementing the aspirations from the recent climate conference, COP 26, there is an unprecedented opportunity to put gender equality at the heart of caring for people and our mother planet.

These themes will be further explored at the upcoming 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66), which will kicks off on 14th of March. The session will look at “Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.”  CSW is the UN’s largest gathering on gender equality, and it only confirms the importance of engaging women in the overall design and implementation of our collective responses to the climate emergency at all levels.

Today, we will hear from a panel of inspirational Bhutanese speakers. Through them, we will celebrate the incredible contributions made by Bhutanese men and women towards greater gender equality and climate action and environmental conservation. We will also debate what more can be done more to accelerate our efforts.

These valuable inputs will firmly contribute to the future climate discussions and CSW, here in Bhutan and globally.

Note: The Panel was livestreamed on Facbook. Watch here: