“This community needs to survive… The problem now is you can’t survive with the sea rise levels.” – Takaria Ubwaitoi, community leader and organizer in Bikenibeu, Kiribati
The climate crisis is high on the global political agenda, but an aspect of it which is lesser explored is the displacement and refugee crisis that has already started to happen as a result – and with that the impact on sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights (SRHR).
As the rate of climate emergencies continues to increase – particularly in the Global South – millions (or even billions) of people can be expected to be forcibly displaced in the coming decades, either within their home countries or across borders. More often than not, these climate emergencies are being driven by the overconsumption of countries in the Global North, but experienced most heavily in the South.
Impacts felt significantly by women and girls
The immediate and obvious impact on SRHR is the disruption of regular health services. In the wake of a climate disaster, clinics that were previously offering services such as streamlined STI testing and treatment, safe abortion care, contraception, and maternal care risk losing the ability to do so with the same consistency and reliability. Humanitarian responses often see SRHR needs deprioritized, particularly in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, when in reality they are critical to a life-saving response.