5-6 JUNE 2018 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

WATER TALK: Women, water and wetlands!

Why the connections matter for peace & security

D6
Lab debate
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
18:00 to 19:15

Our Water Talk aims at exploring the role of women relating to ‘water, peace and security’ with a focus on the Sahel and Horn of Africa. Wetlands are critical infrastructures that regulate and provide water to society and are of direct relevance to sustain livelihoods. Water resources and wetlands are rapidly depleting and, when exacerbated by the impacts of climate change, can have dramatic consequences: increased drought, loss of livelihoods, involuntary migration and conflicts. Women suffer most of these developments. When provided with the right resources they can be ‘key agents of change’ within their families and wider communities. Acknowledging and strengthening women’s role in wetlands and water governance contributes to make a difference towards peace and security in the region 

Key points

  • Given that global water use is increasing dramatically, there is an urgent need to restore lost wetlands and to safeguard sources of water.
  •  Water scarcity can lead to conflicts.
  •  Women are key drivers of change in terms of peace and security, and should be involved in decisionmaking.
  • Water needs to be tackled in diplomatic and not just environmental circles, as water cooperation between countries fosters peace and security.
  • Encouraging dialogue between national ministries for water, energy and agriculture can help create synergies between these sectors, and improve efficiency in the use of water and greater regional stability.

Synopsis

Wetlands are critical infrastructures that regulate and provide water to society and have a direct impact on sustaining livelihoods. Large swathes of wetlands have been lost since the start of the 21st century. Given that global water use is increasing dramatically, there is an urgent need to restore the wetlands and to safeguard sources of water.

Water scarcity can lead to problems and conflicts. For example, women in many developing countries are often the primary collectors of water. In dry periods, they may have to walk long distances, exposing themselves to the risk of violence. Women are often the hardest hit by water-related problems and can drive change by addressing the problems. There is evidence that solutions last longer when women are involved in defusing conflicts and helping to find peaceful solutions.

Another reason why water needs proper management is that incoming investors may be using and contaminating the water. In Uganda, efforts are being made to include women in

Insight

Given that people in charge of water resources have power, there is a need for more discussion and better cooperation between parties competing for water. This would lead to a healthier democratic environment for this issue.

Organised by

Speakers

Grace Kata Banda
Young Leader - Malawi
Claudio Bacigalupi
Head of Water Sector
European Commission - DG for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO)
Annet Kandole
Programme Manager
CARE International
Carmen Marques Ruiz
Policy Coordinator Environment & Water Diplomacy, Economic and Global Issues
European External Action Service (EEAS)
Carmen Hagenaars
Deputy Director Inclusive Green Growth Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands
Alexander Griffin
European Programme Manager
Wetlands International