• Description

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region faces severe climate change impacts, with rising temperatures, water scarcity, desertification and extreme weather events. It is projected to experience high rates of warming, with a potential 4°C increase by 2071–2100 (UNICEF, 2022). Rising heat and humidity levels may exceed the limits of human tolerance. The region also grapples with social inequities, conflicts, poverty, water scarcity and gender inequality. Climate change exacerbates these challenges, acting as a 'threat multiplier' that reinforces existing inequalities. Gendered impacts of climate change are evident, especially in relation to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). SRHR, including family planning and reproductive choices, are crucial for overall wellbeing, but climate change is affecting bodily autonomy and reproductive decisions, particularly for women and girls.

Despite the evident effects of climate change in the region, which disproportionately affect women and girls, there is a significant lack of evidence on how climate change impacts their SRHR and access to sexual and reproductive health services. The primary objective of this research is therefore to thoroughly examine and understand the relationship and interconnection between SRHR and climate change in the MENA region, drawing insights from the lived experiences of women, including young women, across the region. Building upon these real-life experiences and a comprehensive literature review, the research proposes essential recommendations for the stronger integration of gender-sensitive policies and financing mechanisms to enhance women's resilience and adaptive capacity in addressing the impacts of climate change. Simultaneously, they aim to improve women's access to SRHR services while addressing systemic gender inequalities, discrimination and exclusion.

Climate change and women’s health and rights: women voices from MENA