International Women’s Day 2017

On the occasion of the 2017 International Women’s Day, and drawing on the global theme for this year: Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality, GWP-Med has asked women water champions from the Mediterranean water community to reflect on: How can the water sector step it up for gender equality?

Eng. Mona Fakih, Director of Water at the Directorate General for Hydraulic and Electric Resources, Ministry of Energy and Water – Lebanon: "If you think sustainability of water you will think gender...give it a try and see the difference for the sake of future generation to have enough water and live in peace".

Ms. Natasha Carmi, Policy Advisor Water, Environment, Agriculture and Energy, Palestinian Negotiations Support Project – Palestine:

“Although gender mainstreaming has been incorporated into development cooperation policies in water resources management, yet gender equality in the water sector has not been fully realized.  I believe that the water sector can be the Gavel holder for stepping it up for gender equality. This is due to the different approaches to water including but not limited to being a basic human right, a key development factor; a service oriented sector; and of political and grass-root implications. In addition, the reliance of the water sector on the defensible and consistent principles of International Law- including the principle of equitable and reasonable allocation of transboundary water resources- offers the needed framework for gender equality in management and decision making in water resource management. Moreover, given that water is being increasingly looked upon as a vehicle of peace, the water sector plays a central role in empowering the key role of women in water diplomacy. In my opinion, the water sector in particular, offers a vast sea of opportunities towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and accelerating the 2030 Agenda, by upholding its commitment to use internationally recognized legal, scientific, moral and humanitarian principles or standards in its related interventions and initiatives. "

On behalf of the TunisianMinistry of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries Ms. Arij Sassi, Technical Expert from the AGIRE project shared information on women and water in Tunisia:

“Water Ambassadors in Tunisia: A framework for The involvement of women in the sustainable water resources management” 

Despite the important role that Tunisian women play in water management both at household and farm level, they are still absent and invisible in the decision-making processes relating to water collective management and their voices remain inaudible by men and decision-makers.

In collaboration with its Tunisian partners, namely the Ministry of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries through the Rural Women's Support Office (BAFR), the GIZ acting on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Cooperation Economic and Development (BMZ) via the PFM "Regional Programme for the Promotion of the Role of Women in the Maghreb", initiated the "Water Ambassadors in Tunisia" in the pilot region of the Nebhana dam basin, in the delegation of Sbikha of the governorate of Kairouan, which aimed at promoting the participation of women in the decision-making process related to water resources management and strengthening their role in raising awareness for a better valorisation and protection of these resources.

To achieve this, 20 dynamic women and volunteers called "Ambassadrices de l'Eau" were selected following a field survey. These women have participated to a capacity building programme on topics related to water management and also life skills training so that they can then disseminate information with others and act as "Actors of change in favor of better water management”.

In May 2016, the Water Ambassadors were able to participate actively in the Water Forum, a platform for dialogue and exchange between users of water, civil society and the Tunisian administration, implemented by the AGIRE project also in Sbikha delegation. A Water Charter was created through this platform of dialogue and was signed by the various stakeholders including a representative of the "Water Ambassadors".

Today, the "Water Ambassadors" continue their raising awareness activities by targeting their contact groups in the framework of the 2nd phase of the AGIRE project and are involved in the implementation of the various measures for efficient water management agreed in the Water Forum Charter.

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