In 2014, UNESCO WWAP and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) joined forces to design and execute the gender component of the IW:LEARN Project (2015-2019) financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by UNDP and UNEP. The component aims at improving the efficiency of the International Waters portfolio through an enhanced consideration of gender equality in water resources management by means of activities that support gender mainstreaming. The aim is to introduce systematic consideration of gender equity, women empowerment, and social inclusion in GEF’s international waters portfolio approach for the improved management of transboundary waters and for more in general integrated water resources management initiatives. This will also accelerate the global recognition of this fundamental aspect of water resources management, and will improve project performance, scale of social impact and the likelihood of sustainability.

WWF is committed to implementing gender responsive conservation programs and experience working with the private sector on ensuring social integration in conservation. WWAP has developed a unique role in fostering the definition and use of sex disaggregated indicators in water resources assessments and monitoring. The joining of forces and specific experiences of WWAP and WWF greatly enhances the effectiveness of this portfolio capacity building effort.

Project Content

The topic of gender is at the center of a series of six webinars (starting in 2017) revolving on how to incorporate gender considerations in water resources management, also in light of climate change and adaptation to climatic variability effects including migratory fluxes. In addition to this, there is a special focus on the ‘Water and Gender Toolkit’ developed by WWAP to improve the capacity of project managers and concerned communities on the methodology to collect sex-disaggregated data on water. One of the objectives is to review gender strategies from main GEF implementing agencies and analyze existing literature and emerging water-related issues to inform the GEF IW project-cycle and relevant stakeholders, also in view of the SDGs monitoring, particularly Goal 5 on women’s empowerment and Goal 6 on water.

Project-Related Events

During the 8th IW GEF Conference “Scaling Up GEF IW Investments from Source to Sea in the Context of Achieving the SDGs” in Sri Lanka on 9-13 May 2016, WWAP organized the workshop: “Gender Equality for Improved Water Resource Management: Connecting SDG5 and SDG6” and presented the activities and work plan of the gender component. The workshop provided theoretical and practical tools for gender mainstreaming in GEF IW projects and provided learning examples for external partners, governments and institutions on how to improve their own water programs and training tools. The workshop increased awareness of the need for collecting water data disaggregated by sex and enhanced knowledge of project managers and partners about how to apply selected tools, approaches and indicators to improve water management and the empowerment.

Gender Learning Exchanges

IW:LEARN invites GEF IW projects to work with WWAP to broker exchange of experience on mainstreaming approaches by engaging in 'Twinning Exchanges'. 

Read more on the IW:LEARN Project website

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