Gender and climate change were the main topics on the agenda at a seminar held in Hanoi on Nov. 16, which drew the attendance of a large number of domestic scientists, managers and policy makers.

The seminar was designed to improve public awareness of climate change in Vietnam , the government’s national programme to respond to climate change and the role played by female parliamentarians in adapting to climate change and protecting the environment.

The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Pham Khoi Nguyen, told the participants that climate change will seriously affect the poorest areas and peoples in the world, of whom up to 70 percent are women.

This means that poor women will struggle when dealing with the impacts of climate change, said Nguyen, adding that women should have the right to make decisions and work, as well as carry out plans to back community efforts in this field, especially at the grassroots level.

Many delegates said that climate change results in more health risks to women and children, including vulnerability to infectious diseases such as dengue fever and the H1N1 influenza.

The shortage of clean water due to droughts and pollution after floods are also causes behind outbreaks of epidemics in women and children, who find it harder to deal with these issues.

According to the delegates, women are the dominant members in families and society in terms of climate change because they cut down on spending, reduce the use of energy and clean water, protect trees and refrain from drinking alcohol.

Delegates suggested that gender issues and climate changes should be combined with policy making and administrative work, as well as plans by various ministries, sectors and localities to adapt to climate change.

The workshop was co-hosted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs and the Vietnamese Parliamentarians Group./.