Country Case Studies

Republic of the Marshall Islands

RMI’s National Disaster Management Plan (1997) mentions women as being vulnerable to disaster. The National Climate Change Policy (2011) includes an objective on promoting gender-specific adaptation responses. In both cases, no specific actions are proposed. However, gender-specific actions do transfer to the National Action Plan (JNAP) on Disaster Risk Management (DRM 2007). Likewise, the proposed Gender Equality Policy (2015-draft) includes more substantial outcomes on CCA and DRM.

When it comes to Marshallese institutional arrangements, the Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), the national women’s machinery, sits on both the National Disaster Committee and the National Climate Change Committee. NGOs have a key role in service delivery and implementation of government policies. For example, the Women United Together for Marshall Islands (WUTMI) organisation works closely with MIA and is also a member of the National Disaster Committee. During drought in RMI in 2013, WUTMI played a key role in the delivery, monitoring and evaluation of food package distribution to the outer islands. Focus group discussions found that other NGOs are yet to fully grasp the link between gender and vulnerability and resilience to climate change.

While gender-responsive climate change action is encouraged in RMI through the JNAP, it lacks dedicated funding or consistent interventions. Neither MIA nor

WUTMI have the necessary financial, human or technical resources to drive gender mainstreaming in the climate change and DRR sectors. For this reason, no sex and age disaggregated data (SADD) was available in relation to climate change. The research also found failings such as atoll development plans—that had been prepared with extensive consultation and planning exercises with men, women and youth at community level, assisted by WUTMI—that had not been endorsed by the government. This not only delays and weakens the influence of the action plans, it erodes the community’s belief that consultation exercises will result in meaningful action.

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