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Can disaggregated data help build resilience and ensure climate justice?

  • Published at 02:02 pm March 4th, 2021
disaster management

Impending need for disaggregated data for reducing risk from climate change

The impacts of climate change are not felt the same for the whole population of a given country. Women and children are identified as more vulnerable than men, furthermore, they are most undefended to the various effects of climate change. Therefore, the impacts of climate change and the risks within are very much gender-sensitive. To have specific knowledge of the proportion of the impacts, to address them, and further incorporate them into policies require disaggregated data on disasters. The action plan of UNFCCs so far does not translate the gender-specific action due to lack of disaggregated data.

Lack of disaggregated data on affected population based on gender, sex, age hinders precise steps and actions that need to be taken to reduce the risks and damage of the affected population.  Therefore, to initiate a discussion for a global platform for sharing disaggregated data on climate change and disaster risk a UNWomen Bangladesh held a virtual event at the Gobeshona Global Conference 1 on 18th January 2021.

The discussion addressed the 26-national set of indicators drawn from the 73 global indicators that Bangladesh has agreed to produce on a regular basis for measuring gender dimensions of disasters and climate change. The session also highlighted the Sendai framework that is working for collecting disaggregated data on disasters and climate change and the challenges in the data collection process. The discussion table included distinguished experts in this field namely, Md Mohsin; Secretary Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, Jessica Gardner; Gender Statistics expert, Duke Ivn Amin ; Director. Communication and Resource mobilization JAGO NARI, Branwen Millar; Programme Management officer (UNDRR), Inkar Kadyrzhanova; Regional Advisor on Gender and Climate Change UN Women.

To understand the importance of disaggregated data, we need to understand what it means.  Disaggregation of data simply refers to the separation of data into small parts for the better purpose of analyzing trends, patterns or we can say for better insights which are not possible to find in aggregated data. For example, disaggregated data on disaster can help with generating better insights of affected people by hazards by providing data of location, by sex, by disability, by income.      

"Lack of disaggregated data on affected population based on gender, sex, age hinders precise steps and actions that need to be taken to reduce the risks and damage of the affected population"

Why do we need to have disaggregated data?

The availability of both qualitative and quantitative data on hazards and geographical tracks will facilitate countries with better implementation plans for disaster management and risk mitigation measures. Some of the key priority areas where we need disaggregated data are; vulnerability assessment, loss of life, loss and damage to the dwelling, use of shelters, access to safe water, impact on employment and education.     

Additionally, disaggregated data will help in identifying the left-behind groups in countries and their needs. This can be supported by involving them into the design; formulation; programming; and monitoring of national and local DRR strategies.

The demand for disaggregated data is rising worldwide. Countries are set with some indicators for understanding the data priorities- what are their available data, what data needs to be produced. Bangladesh has agreed to 23 such indicators addressing the various indicators of; Sendai framework; SDGs and national sectoral policies and strategies on climate change and disaster risk reduction. These indicators will further assist in collecting sex, age and disability data for forming a gender-inclusive disaster management plan.

It is to be kept in mind that both qualitative and quantitative data are required for a comprehensive knowledge generation. Information shared by Jessica Gardner pointed out that empirical data taken from a couple of years back shows that, “women and children died 40% more than men during disasters’’. But there remains some data gap due to challenges faced during the data collection process such as; (i)challenge in building capacity; (ii)short data collection periods(it is tough to collect data within a short time frame); (iii) lack of female trained staffs; (iv) local authorities are unwilling to release data to the national level;(v) rushed reporting of data. One of the speakers also addressed the challenges faced by the governments in the Asia Pacific region in regards to gender data gaps such as weak policy space and legal and financial environment, technical and financial challenges limiting the production of gender statistics and so on. To address the challenges UN Women and DRR working in 3 areas of creating a better environment, data production and data accessibility.

UN Women has been a champion for evidence-based response and making the needs and capacities of women and girls visible, To address uneven capacity for the collection of sex-, age- and disability-disaggregated data (SADDD) and gender analysis across the region, UN Women proactively supports Member States and other humanitarian actors in collecting sex, age, and disability data and conducting gender analysis. The speakers at the event appreciated UN Women Bangladesh’s leadership and the milestone in setting up the SADDD protocol and guidelines. 

Even though challenges and barriers exist in collecting disaggregated data, Bangladesh has been doing exceptionally well in the disaster response. Now the country must invest in disaggregated data on disaster and climate change with the focus to include the marginalized and vulnerable people to have a stringent evidence-based response. 

Fatema Akter is currently working as a Research Intern at ICCCAD and is also a student of Bangladesh University of Professionals.

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