UNESCO International Hydrological Programme is convening jointly with the Water Research Commission of South Africa a Seminar on “Gender and Water: Issues for the Future” during the World Water Week 2014 from 31 August to 5 September held in Stockholm, Sweden.
Women play a central role in the provision, management and safeguarding of water resources. However, despite the recognition of this role, women and girls remain especially vulnerable to the multiple effects of lack of access to clean water and sanitation, the use of unsafe, polluted water, and water-related disasters. Given the importance of gender mainstreaming in water management and due to the fact that in rural Africa increased vulnerability of women and girls to drought impacts is witnessed, UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP) implemented a special project component focusing on Gender Mainstreaming in Drought Management in the framework of the UNESCO Priority Africa Intersectoral Platform project “Drought Monitoring at the Country Level”. As part of the project, UNESCO-IHP organized a major multi-stakeholder international workshop on gender and drought in Niger in October 2013, which brought together all relevant stakeholders from Africa and other continents, including youth representatives.
At the seminar, UNESCO will present a Guidelines Document on Gender Mainstreaming in Drought Management, which contains key messages and recommendations of the UNESCO project component and multi-stakeholder workshop on gender and drought. The Guidelines Document promotes the incorporation of the gender dimension in drought risk assessment and drought management which is important in reducing the impacts of drought on women and girls.
The event places emphasis on the vulnerability of women and girls to drought because drought is not only a major water-related natural disaster affecting water supplies in many African countries, but also brings about serious negative impacts on health, well-being, livelihoods and education of women, girls and the poor. Ms. Sarantuyaa Zandaryaa, Programme Specialist of Division of Water Sciences of UNESCO, will co-chair the seminar and the multi-stakeholder panel discussion which will be framed around the central question: “What are the main game changers in the future on Gender, Water and Development: framing new research questions”.