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Dushanbe hosts International Women and Water Conference


Dushanbe, 10 June 2024 (TDI):  The International Forum “Women and Water” convened 120 participants from 17 countries in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Attendees included government representatives, international organizations, civil society groups, water resources and gender equality experts, women’s rights activists, students, academics, journalists, and media personnel.

The Forum is a significant side event of the Third International High-Level Conference on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028,” held as part of the Dushanbe Water Process.

The Forum aims to establish a global platform to discuss the crucial role of women in water resources management and to promote gender equality in this field.

Moreover, the Forum will highlight the leadership role of women in water resources management and examine the specific impacts on women. Emphasis will be placed on gender-sensitive policies to ensure justice and equality in the distribution of water resources.

The event took stock of progress in implementing commitments made at the 2022 Women’s Water Forum, showcased successful partnerships, and strengthened women’s participation in water dialogues and processes.

The event offers an opportunity to engage with global leaders, experts, and advocates dedicated to solving the water crisis and advancing gender equality.

Additionally, Participants will have the opportunity to review progress, share innovative solutions, and strengthen partnerships to achieve the Decade of Action for Water.

Global Delegates at Women and Water Forum
Global Delegates at Women and Water Forum

Opening the Forum, Elisa Fernandez Saenz, UN Women Deputy Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, emphasized:

“When women are empowered to participate in decision-making processes… When incentives are in place to advance gender equality… And when poor performance on women’s rights has consequences… … better results are possible.”

Additionally, Nancy J. Eslick, USAID Global Water Coordinator, underscored the significance of women’s role in water diplomacy:

“Women’s participation in water sector development and water diplomacy must be institutionalized for their influence to have an effective impact.”

Shanny Campbell, ADB Country Director for Tajikistan, stressed the relevance and urgency of addressing water issues:

“Access to clean water remains a pressing issue for many communities. In addressing this issue, we must not only recognize the important role of women in water management but also amplify our collective voices and take decisive action.”

Furthermore, Sameh Wahba, Regional Director for Sustainable Development in the Europe and Central Asia Regions of the World Bank, highlighted the strategic importance of gender equality in the water sector:

“Closing the gender gap in the water sector is a matter of social justice and a strategic imperative for achieving sustainable development. By recognizing and leveraging women’s contributions as water managers and providers, we can improve the efficiency of our water operations and ensure that the benefits of safe water and sanitation reach all.”

The event is coordinated by the Committee on Women and Family Affairs under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Tajikistan and UN Women.

The forum is organized in partnership with USAID, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Acted, OSCE, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), UNFPA, and the World Bank.

The global water crisis, worsened by climate change, rising demand, pollution, and past mismanagement, poses significant hurdles to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6: ensuring universal access to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030.

In 2023, 380 million women and girls were facing high or critical water stress, a number projected to increase to 674 million by 2050 across 33 countries.

Women’s leadership and gender-responsive water justice are essential for sustainable water management and equitable outcomes.

Moreover, Research by UN Women underscores the profound gendered impacts of water scarcity, which threaten food security, health, cultural integrity, and peace.

Women’s leadership and participation in water governance are crucial for developing sustainable and equitable water management systems.

Gender-responsive water justice tackles these challenges by promoting policies that acknowledge water as a fundamental right and address the specific needs of women.

Also Read: Deputy Prime Minister Dar meet Tajikistan’s Foreign Minister

The Women and Water Forum will tackle critical issues such as investing in a gender-responsive and community-based water agenda. It will also explore best practices and tools to foster peaceful, inclusive, and equitable communities.

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