International Forum “Women and Water” to Promote Gender Equality in Water Management 


WWF 2024

10 June 2024, Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The International Forum "Women and Water" gathers 120 participants from 17 countries, including representatives from governments, international organizations, public organizations, water resources and gender equality experts, women's rights activists, students, academics, journalists, and media representatives in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The forum is an important side event of the Third High-Level International Conference on the International Decade for Action "Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028," under the Dushanbe Water Process. 

The forum aims to create a global platform to discuss the crucial role of women in water resource management and to promote gender equality in maritime relations. It will highlight women's leadership in water governance and address the specific impacts of water issues on women, advocating for gender-responsive policies to ensure fairness and equity in water distribution. It assesses the progress of commitments from the 2022 Women Water Forum, showcase successful partnerships, and strengthen women's engagement in water-related dialogues and processes. This event provides an opportunity to engage with global leaders, experts, and advocates committed to addressing the water crisis and promoting gender equality. Participants will have the chance to assess progress, share innovative solutions, and strengthen partnerships to achieve the goals of the Water Action Decade. 

Opening the Forum, Elisa Fernandez Saenz, UN Women Europe and Central Asia Deputy Regional Director, emphasized, "When women are enabled to participate… When incentives to advance gender equality are in place… And when poor performance on women’s rights has consequences… …better outcomes are possible.”

Nancy J. Eslick, USAID Global Water Coordinator, highlighted the importance of women’s roles in water diplomacy: "Women in water development and diplomacy must be institutionalized so that women’s influence can be leveraged." 

Sameh Wahba, Regional Director for Sustainable Development at the Europe and Central Asia region, The World Bank, stressed the strategic importance of gender equality in the water sector: "Addressing the gender gap in the water sector is not only a matter of social justice but also a strategic imperative for achieving sustainable development. By recognizing and leveraging the contributions of women as water managers and providers, we can enhance the effectiveness of our water operations and ensure that the benefits of safe water and sanitation are accessible to all." 

Coordinated by the Committee on Women and Family Affairs under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Tajikistan, and UN Women, the forum is organized in partnership with USAID, ADB, Acted, OSCE, IWPR, UNRCCA, UNFPA and the World Bank. 

The global water crisis, exacerbated by climate change, increasing demand, pollution, and historical mismanagement, poses significant challenges to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6: universal access to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030. In 2023, 380 million women and girls faced high or critical water stress, with this number projected to rise to 674 million by 2050 in 33 countries. Women's leadership and gender-responsive water justice is vital for sustainable water management and achieving equitable outcomes. 

Research by UN Women highlights the profound gendered impacts of water scarcity, which threaten food security, health outcomes, cultural integrity, and peace. Women’s leadership and participation in water governance are crucial for developing sustainable and equitable water management systems. Gender-responsive water justice addresses these issues by promoting policies that recognize water as a basic right and consider the specific needs of women. 

The Women’s Water Forum will address critical issues such as investing in a gender-responsive and community-based water agenda, and exploring best practices and tools for creating peaceful, inclusive, and just communities. Special emphasis will be placed on the role of women in water diplomacy for building equitable and inclusive societies. 

Be part of this essential dialogue to address the global water crisis and promote sustainable development through gender equality. Join us in Dushanbe on June 10, 2024, and help shape a more equal and sustainable future. 


BACKGROUND: The Dushanbe Water Process is an initiative of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan to support the implementation of the goals of the International Decade for Action "Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028" through a series of conferences held every two years by the Government of Tajikistan in close collaboration with the United Nations. The conferences are co-chaired by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan and the UN Under-Secretary-General, Head of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. 

To date, two Dushanbe conferences on the Water Decade for Action have been successfully held in Dushanbe – in 2018 and 2022. The Second Dushanbe Conference on the Water Decade for Action, held in 2022, played a significant role in shaping the themes of the interactive dialogues of the 2023 UN Water Conference and launching the Water Action Agenda. 


For more information, please contact:

Gulnaz Anisio De Oliveira, Communications Specialist, UN Women Europe and Central Asia, e-mail: [ Click to reveal ]; and Davroni Davronzoda, National Communications Consultant, UN Women Tajikistan, e-mail: [ Click to reveal ].