Unpack the interconnection of health, gender and climate resilience at the CanWaCH Healthy World Conference

This week marks International Development Week, a week where the international development sector comes together to recognize international development efforts and celebrate Canadian contributions made through partnerships around the world. Building on previous editions, this year’s theme, #GoForTheGoals, calls people in Canada to support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will highlight Canadian contributions in partnerships, gender equality, education, health and climate action. 

The week’s focus on supporting international development priorities is an important call to action. As the world approaches the deadline to meet the 2030 SDG Agenda, progress on more than 50 per cent of targets is falling dangerously short, with the impacts of the climate crisis, global conflict and displacement, financing gaps and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in global setbacks. 

Women and girls, in all their diversity, and particularly those in vulnerable communities, are and will continue to be disproportionately affected by the growing impacts of the climate crisis. They face unique barriers and discrimination in accessing reproductive and maternal health resources, education and decision-making processes, while rising temperatures threaten to put hundreds of millions more women and girls at risk of poverty and food insecurity. 

The climate crisis further intersects with the water crisis and its gendered impacts. Today, over 380 million women live in some of the most water-stressed countries, and this number is expected to rise to 674 million by 2050. In seven out of ten households without supplies on premises, women and girls are primarily responsible for water collection. Yet, gender inequalities limit their access to land and water resources, thereby increasing their vulnerability.

In Canada, there has been a long and rich history of mobilizing for gender equality and social justice from women’s movements and feminist organizations, but there is still a long way to go to achieve the ambitious goals laid out in the 2030 SDG Agenda. As discussed during Equal Futures 2023: A Gender Equality Summit and the 2023 Global Health Impact Report, Indigenous, Black, racialized, Northern and rural communities face barriers and challenges when it comes to the availability of and access to basic services, resulting in higher community rates of poverty, food and water insecurity and health concerns. 

Unpacking the interconnected nature of climate, health and gender equality is fundamental for advancing the health, well-being, and empowerment of women and girls worldwide. Through our upcoming flagship event, the Healthy World Conference: Dialogues on Health, Gender and Climate Resilience, we will bring together key actors and thought leaders to critically examine how climate, health and gender transformative actions can be more effectively integrated into our work.

Held from May 14 to 15 on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehà:ka Nation, also known as Montréal, Quebec, the conference will provide an interactive, dialogue-forward forum to dive deeply, connect meaningfully and reflect with curiosity. 

Programming will aim to provide attendees with:

  • Knowledge and tools to establish specific, measurable and achievable commitments regarding the integration of climate resilience into health, and gender equality strategies and programming.
  • Next steps needed to realize their commitments.
  • Supportive evidence and community resources that exist which will enable them to realize their commitment.

At CanWaCH, our mission is to champion the health and rights of women and children around the world. As we #GoForTheGoals this International Development Week, highlighting projects by our members and partners and emphasizing the voices of youth, the Global South and local communities driving efforts, we also look forward to the opportunity to convene, build connections and innovate this May for a future where the impact of climate change on health and gender equality are considered to improve the lives of everyone, everywhere.

More information, including registration details, can be found on the Healthy World webpage, LinkedIn event and CanWaCH social media channels. 


February 8, 2024