Saint Kitts and Nevis Embassy in Taiwan host Mountain cleanup for World Earth Day

Ambassador Donya Francis and participants.
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Nassau, The Bahamas – Minister of Social Services, Information and Broadcasting, the Hon. Myles LaRoda, Monday, used the annual, global observance of Earth Day to outline the “inter-connectedness” between environmental protection and gender equality.  Mr. LaRoda serves as Chair of the Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting (WAMM).

Ambassador Donya Francis and participants.

WAMM serves as the principal decision-making body for Commonwealth women’s affairs ministers to review progress made towards achieving four Commonwealth priorities for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The four priorities are: Women in leadership; Women’s economic empowerment; Ending violence against women and girls; and Gender and climate. Special focus was also given to the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities at the 2023 Meeting held (August 21-23) in The Bahamas.

Minister LaRoda said the Davis Administration’s: “Commitment to preserving the environment goes hand in hand with our commitment to gender equality.”

“Today, as we mark Earth Day, let us not only celebrate our planet but also reflect on the inter-connectedness of its inhabitants. As we all well know, in 2024, our most pressing environmental challenge, indeed our most pressing global challenge, is climate change,” Mr. LaRoda said.

“Gender inequality, like environmental degradation, is a global challenge that requires collective action. We must recognize that the fight for equality extends beyond gender alone — it encompasses socio-economic status, disability status and so much more.”

Minister LaRoda’s comment came during a broadcast address on the global observance of Earth Day. The address was made available on multiple platforms.

The 2024 commemoration of Earth Day was celebrated under the theme “Planet vs Plastics”.  Environmental officials say, while plastics — a by-product of the fossil fuel industry — are convenient and useful, there is a negative component as they are very hard to discard.

“Single-use and micro-plastics have an immense negative effect on our planet and the most vulnerable among us,” Mr. LaRoda said.

“Women are some of the largest consumers of micro-plastics that enter their bodies through ingestion of contaminated seafood, leaching from plastic water bottles and dermatologic products.  These compounds are linked to serious health issues such as endocrine disruption, weight gain, insulin resistance, decreased reproductive health, and cancer.

“We must move swiftly to implementing changes in the way we handle solid waste as well as developing a Circular Economy Roadmap, in order to transition to a more climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy.”

Minister LaRoda said as the country, and indeed the globe, strives for a sustainable and harmonious world, three key areas must be addressed including empowerment, representation and education.

“We must empower women to actively participate in decision-making processes related to environmental policies, climate action, and resource management. Their voices are essential in shaping a more equitable and resilient future.

“Gender parity in leadership positions is crucial as it is not just a matter of justice; it is essential for sustainable development. When women hold key roles, diverse perspectives emerge, leading to more effective solutions. Let us break down barriers and create pathways for their meaningful participation.

“Education is a powerful tool for change. Raising awareness about gender-environment linkages fosters informed action. By promoting environmental literacy and gender-inclusive education, we equip future generations with the knowledge and empathy needed to safeguard our planet and promote equality.”

Minister LaRoda said women and girls must be afforded an equal share of the collective future.

“Let us embrace this idea, recognizing that our shared commitment to equality extends beyond borders and boundaries.  By championing both gender equality and environmental conservation causes, we pave the way for a more resilient, just, and sustainable world.

“As the Chair of the 13th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting, I reflect on the links between environmental protection and gender equality. When Ministers met in Nassau last August they committed to a collaborative Commonwealth community effort around gender-responsive climate action. Ministers also discussed the urgent need to invest more in women and girls as agents of transformative climate action and environmental sustainability,” Mr. LaRoda concluded.

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