MARRIAGES OF SURVIVAL
South Asia has the highest rate of early and forced marriages in the world and its climate change vulnerability has long been apparent. Nearly one in five girls are married before the age of 15. And over 750 million people -- half the region's population -- were affected by one or more climate-related disasters in the past decade.
The cyclones of Bangladesh, blistering heatwaves in India, the tsunami in Sri Lanka, and the floods in Pakistan, have demonstrated how the climate crisis intersects with and increases existing inequalities of gender, ethnicity, and capital flows. From increased labour for obtaining water, fuel, and food for their families, to facing new obstacles due to intense droughts and floods; rising cases of ethnic and gendered violence, including sexual abuse and rape, in the wake of a disaster, to additional challenges to accessing assistance and humanitarian aid during disasters -- research indicates that marrying off a minor daughter during a climate-related disaster can mean there is one less mouth to feed.
The links between early marriages and the climate crisis are thus, complex, dynamic and seemingly irrefutable. Yet, globally, there is a serious lack of robust scientific data to measure the impacts of climate change on girls' lives. This gap in global research and evidence risks leaving girls' and communities' voices out of the programmes and policies that must protect them.
CLIMATE JUSTICE = GENDER JUSTICE = RACIAL JUSTICE