Women, Water, Climate, Tackling the Challenges
The devastating impacts of climate change on people, their environment as well as on the economies of countries are felt in all regions of the world and in every stratum of society. Ironically, however, the deadliest impacts of the vagaries of the weather are on those who are the least responsible for causing the problem. These are the people living in areas of high poverty and low resources. Among them, women are the most vulnerable to climate change impacts and their most visible effect, water scarcity, but they lack a voice in decision-making processes by virtue of their reduced access to resources and restricted rights.
Women’s role in water: To foster regional cooperation and policy dialogue that promotes sustainable development in the face of climate change, Women for Water Partnership (WfWP) with partners NetWater (NWW) and Soroptimist International of the Southwest Pacific (SISWP) organised a virtual conference, “Women, Water, Climate: Tackling the Challenges.” Financial support was provided by the Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI), Sweden. The conference was held online on 2 and 3 November 2020 and was preceded by a series of eight (8) webinars held in October which outlined case study experiences of communities in South Asia. These series of on-line events were designed to build capacities, share knowledge and increased collaboration among key stakeholders through dialogue with participating experts, young water professionals and community leaders.
The webinars were presented through case studies that voiced the views of women, youth, indigenous people and marginalised communities who would otherwise not have been heard in decisive discussions. Most of the webinars featured the catalytic role played by women in the use and management of water which had led to substantial improvements in the lives, livelihoods, and overall well-being of their communities. Their experiences confirm that women not only have the capacities to contribute to solutions on water security issues but that they are an essential component if these solutions are to be equitable and sustainable in the long-term. Most importantly, the case studies substantiate the fact that women are now emerging not as victims of climate change, but are transforming into powerful agents of change whose uniquely indigenous experience, knowledge and skills are vital for inclusion in planning and implementation strategies formulated to mitigate and adapt to climate change.