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Homemakers Key to Sustainable Consumption Patterns
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Homemakers Key to Sustainable Consumption Patterns

As part of developing a domestic policy framework that will encourage a shift to more sustainable patterns of production and consumption, a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Energy Ministry and the Office of the Vice-President for Women and Family Affairs.

Under the MoU, programs will be initiated within the next two months with focus on sustainable patterns of consumption.

National policies and strategies to encourage changes in unsustainable consumption patterns through educative programs for women will help conserve scarce resources, Tabnak News Agency quoted Vice-President Shahindokht Molaverdi as saying.

"Our target groups are mainly housewives and rural women. But the plan also covers female students and working women," she added.

The Technical and Vocational Training Organization (TVTO) affiliated to the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social welfare has helped develop the programs, Molaverdi said.

Women play a significant role in households and as consumers. The potential impact of their combined purchasing power on the economy cannot be underestimated.

Homemakers in particular, play a central role in daily consumption patterns of households, as they are often responsible for the family shopping. From this perspective, they represent the largest global consumer group. This does not, however, necessarily mean that they themselves consume everything that they purchase, Molaverdi said.

  Joint Effort

The program is primarily concerned with changes in unsustainable patterns of consumption and production and values that will encourage sustainable consumption patterns and lifestyles. It requires the combined efforts of government, consumers and producers.

Women also make more than 80% of household decisions. They are more likely to buy basic goods such as food, clothing and household items; so they play an important role in changing consumption patterns.

Currently, there are 20 million housewives in the country.

"On the other hand, women comprise 70% of the domestic agricultural labor force," Molaverdi said. The agriculture sector is the biggest water consumer and uses almost 70% of the precious resources which are constantly depleting. Training women farmers in water-saving techniques and prevention of wastage can help conserve large quantities of water.

Earlier, Masumeh Ebtekar, head of the Department of Environment, had warned that water utilization and consumption patterns in Iran are not scientific or judicious, whether in the domestic or agricultural sectors. Other senior authorities have warned that if early action is not taken the country could soon turn into a barren desert.

  Consecutive Drought

The past decade has seen consecutive years of drought. Nearly 63% of the country's drinking water is supplied by groundwater sources, which have considerably reduced over the years due to lack of precipitation.

The major cause of the continued decline in global resources is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, which is aggravating poverty and imbalances.

Changing consumption patterns require a multipronged strategy focusing on demand, meeting the basic needs of the people, and reducing wastage and the use of finite resources in the production and consumption process.

Action is needed to promote patterns of consumption and production that reduce environmental stress and develop a better understanding of the role of consumption, and to bring about more sustainable living conditions.

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