A recent assessment by the UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) shows progress towards gender equality to be off-track with respect to international agreements and declarations. Consequently, WWAP is promoting a Call for Action (CfA) to “Accelerate the Achievement of Gender Equality in the Water Domain”, which calls upon leaders and key decision-makers to ensure the swift implementation of concrete actions, including urgent gender-transformative strategies.
On that behalf, WWAP organized an online information session on 12 July 2021 to present the Call for Action to the UNESCO Member States’ permanent representatives, chaired by the UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, Ms. Shamila Nair-Bedouelle. During his address, Mr. Massimo Riccardo (Ambassador of the Italian Republic to UNESCO) underlined the tremendous importance borne by ‘water and gender equality’, as gender equality and women empowerment are key priorities of Italy’s G20 presidency, and announced the organization of a Ministerial Conference on the empowerment of women during their term. He called upon all Member States to take concrete actions in line with the recommendations made within the UNESCO WWAP ‘Call for Action’ Initiative. The statement was seconded by the Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to UNESCO, Ms. Meta Bole, who pointed water out as one of the key priorities of Slovenia’s presidency to the European Council. She offered Slovenia’s full support to the Call for Action: during its presidency, Slovenia will organize together with UNESCO WWAP, a 2-day conference on water and gender equality (October 2021), with as focus to accelerate concrete and transformative actions towards gender equality in water, improving humanitarian support, human development and peace.
Ms. Michela Miletto, Director of the UNESCO WWAP, pointed out that the existence of a data gap on gender and water remains a huge stumbling stone to the progress towards the Agenda 2030 achievement as well as other international commitments made. She highlighted the existing solutions to address this very issue, and focused on the unique WWAP methodology developed for the collection of sex-disaggregated data, its comprehensive capacity development programme, and above all, the novel initiative ‘Call for Action: Accelerating Gender Equality in the Water Domain – Bridging the data gap and developing concrete actions