United Nations proposes to Empower Women to Tackle the World’s Water Crisis

A United Nations report published this week proposes a holistic approach to water use and conservation that empowers women to tackle the world’s water crises. The report aims to recognise the role of women in their communities as the main collectors, protectors and managers of water.

The report titled ‘Spotlight on Goal 6: From Commodity to Common Good: A Feminist Agenda to Tackle the World’s Water Crises’  aims to cast water as a ‘sacred, common good, not a commodity to exploit’. Water demands respect and sustainable utilisation.

The report was released during the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development where the Sustainable Development Gal 6 Clean Water and Sanitation was under review. The report recognises that the human rights to water and to sanitation are not realised for many women and girls globally. Over 1 in 4 women globally do not have access to safe drinking water.

The report calls for equal representation of women in leadership and decision-making about water resource management and says this is necessary for social justice, ecological rights and women’s rights.

The report identifies and explains the root causes of the Global Water Crisis as (1) Climate change; (2) Unbridled increases in water demand; and (3) Pollution and mismanagement.

It makes 9 recommendations:

  1. Enact gender-responsive legal frameworks and institutions to protect water resources
  2. Reverse unequal and unsustainable production and consumption patterns
  3. Prioritise women and vulnerable populations in climate change strategies
  4. Tackle gender inequality and discrimination in accessing safe drinking water and sanitation
  5. Promote women’s equal participation and leadership in water governance
  6. Bring diverse perspectives to local, national and international decision-making
  7. Prioritise safe drinking water and safely managed sanitation in communities, schools and health centres
  8. Accelerate partnerships and cooperation through greater financial support
  9. Invest in gender data to inform water and sanitation policy.

The report is available at:  from_commodity_to_common_good.pdf (unwater.org)

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