Blog.Dec 08, 2022

Financing the Global Strategy: Many Pathways to Partnership

With the new Women in Water Diplomacy Global Network Strategy in place and new ‘sister’ basin communities beginning to take root in Asia, the Americas, Africa, and elsewhere, new partnerships have been initiated to resource the growing Network needs and advance action on prioritized activities.

Elizabeth A. Yaari, SIWI
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Elizabeth A. Koch
Women in Water Diplomacy Process Support Team Lead
Environmental Law Institute and Shared Waters Partnership contributor

The Path Forward to Women, Water, Peace and Security Global Strategy provides more than a dozen critical areas of engagement identified by women water diplomats from around the world and prioritized by the Network in the Global Strategy. Partners are being sought to provide direct financial support to the Women in Water Diplomacy Network to enable us to achieve our objectives!

A need for sustained political, technical and financial resources

Without a doubt, the implementation of the Women in Water Diplomacy Global Strategy will require new, strong, and sustained political, technical and financial resources. Since the 2022 World Water Week Global Strategy launch event, the Process Support team has been driving partnership dialogues and developing budget need scenarios to enable the strong commitments articulated at the launch to find grounding in the implementation of core Network priorities. Network members and partners institutions have repeatedly identified challenges in achieving goals linked to gender equality in transboundary waters. With the Women in Water Diplomacy’s Global Strategy, leading women water diplomats from around the world have identified tangible, actionable efforts that can fundamentally change the status quo.

SIWI’s Shared Waters Partnership, supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the United States Department of State, the Government of the Netherlands and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has supported the inception and development of the Women in Water Diplomacy Network since 2017, with focus on the Nile Basin, and will continue to do so during the coming strategy period. Shared Waters Partnership partners provide critical support to the Network – not only through direct process support and engagement costs, but also by leveraging diplomatic channels to elevate and raise awareness about the important work of the Women in Water Diplomacy in formal and informal channels. This type of sustained multi-year focused resourcing for women water diplomats is critical to the continuous engagement of Network members and supporters in basin and global policy dialogues.

In 2022, Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs leveraged the sustained investment in the development of the Network by Shared Waters Partnership partners and provided targeted support to the Network’s first ever Global Network Forum and Global Strategy launch events at the World Water Week. With Finland’s targeted support to frontline women water diplomats, more than 50 Network members and supporters were able to attend the Global Network Forum and participate in the launch of the Network Strategy at the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. This type of targeted resourcing for catalytic activities in the Network programme provides another pathway for partners to dramatically scale Network impacts at critical milestones.

New partnerships

New partners can likewise join in supporting the Women in Water Diplomacy Network through programmatic alignment around shared objectives. In much of Africa, River Basin Organizations and other related organizations have long taken key steps to fostering an enabling environment for gender equality, often having already developed gender policies and guidelines and conducting ongoing capacity building. Despite these important steps, there is a sense that gender equality goals remain far away and heavily under-resourced. By reviewing the prioritized activities identified under each strategic pillar in the Women in Water Diplomacy Global Strategy, partners can consider how to align engagements to collaboratively advance shared objectives. In the Orange-Senqu Basin, for example, ORASECOM seeks to leverage gender equality orientated programme components in aligned with the objectives of the Women in Water Diplomacy Network to advance the inception and design of the new Orange-Senqu Women in Water Diplomacy Network.

The Network understands that not all partners have hard financial resources available to provide direct support to women water diplomats. To that end, the new Global Strategy provides many pathways for partners to support the Network through harmonized objectives and in-kind resource direction. UNDP Cap-Net, for example, has years of experience supporting stakeholder communities in advancing knowledge sharing and capacity building through the UNDP Cap-Net Virtual Campus. By directing in-kind resources for UNDP CAP-Net expert staff to engage and support the Women in Water Diplomacy Network, Cap-Net has developed a new ‘Virtual Campus’ for the use and development of the Network members and fundamentally contribute to prioritized activities across the Global Strategy programme.

Partners of all kinds are encouraged to consider how your organisation or institution might contribute to supporting the prioritized engagements of the Women in Water Diplomacy Network – reach out to the Process Support Team for further discussion!