Women are first ones to be impacted by pandemics & climate change: Dia Mirza

Actor, producer and champion for nature Dia Mirza has successfully completed three years as a UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) advocate. Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi also joins her as a fellow Indian in the cohort of fellow SDG advocates.

Women are first ones to be impacted by pandemics & climate change: Dia Mirza

Actor, producer and champion for nature Dia Mirza has successfully completed three years as a UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) advocate. In her three year tenure, she has been the face of many crucial environment campaigns across the country and has tirelessly worked to spread the message on priority areas including climate change, single use plastics, clean air and  oceans and also wildlife conservation as a Goodwill Ambassador. Especially at a time when the world is struggling with coronavirus and the climate crisis, the work of the SDG Advocates gains even more critical importance. 

This year, Nobel Laureate and fellow Indian Kailash Satyarthi also joined her as a fellow SDG Advocate and during  a virtual meeting convened by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres for all  SDG Advocates, Dia noted, "I am especially proud to welcome Kailash Satyarthi, to the cohort of SDG advocates. We are stronger for your gracious acceptance to join this global movement and together, we will work to provide the final push for the SDGs and the beginning of a long and hopeful recovery from the worst impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic."

She also noted, “A global shock like COVID-19 not only creates risks, but exposes pre-existing fractures of our societies. That is why 120 million more people will be pushed into poverty, the equivalent of 225 million jobs have been lost, and school closures have meant that many children will not receive quality learning –  not just because of the virus – but because we went into this pandemic with 4 billion of the world’s population without any social protection, with a deep digital divide, and with egregious inequalities. The virus showed us that the three priorities of the Secretary-General, climate action, gender equality, and reducing inequalities – are interconnected agendas, and none can be achieved without the other two."

She underlined how inequalities have divided the world between those who can afford to shelter from the virus and wash their hands at home, and the billions who don’t have access to quality sanitation. She also pointed out that such inequalities will also determine who will immediately lose livelihoods and homes to an extreme weather event and who can survive a little longer. Even outside this pandemic, she said, natural disasters force 26 million people into poverty each year and claim millions of lives, particularly of women. She added, "Women are in the frontlines of our pandemic response – as 50-70 percent of healthcare and frontline workers across countries, and they are also the first to be impacted by global shocks like pandemics and climate change."

She emphasized that  climate action must be foremost about people and its relationship with nature and added, “We must keep our focus on those most vulnerable and ensure that renewable energy and water conservation efforts better the lives of the poorest.”

She also highlighted the importance of mainstreaming green economy through multi stakeholder approaches especially when Nature and its services contribute half of the world’s GDP. She said, "We must recognise that rainforests are our lungs and coastlines are our livelihoods. Development cannot just be GDP – it must mean natural capital; and climate action cannot just be implemented in conference rooms, it must become the main conversation in the next ten years. We must encourage sustainable lifestyles, green school curriculums, and social media campaigns for the science of climate change in the face of disinformation.”

Via her Instagram campaign, 'Down to Earth with Dee,' and various far-reaching activities, Dia has been trying to  advocate a more mindful and sustainable lifestyle and hoped that along with other SDG Advocates from around the world, and young climate champions everywhere, she would be able to help build a green new normal for all.

For the last five years, the Secretary-General has met with his SDG Advocates during the General Assembly and apart from Dia, also present virtually at this meeting were, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar, His Highness Muhammad Sanusi II 14th Emir of Kano, Blackpink, Richard Curtis, Hindou Ibrahim, Graca Machel, Valentina Munoz, Jeff Sachs, Kailash Satyarthi and Forest Whitaker.

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