Inclusion Perspectives on the UN Water Conference
About the Network
The Women in Water Diplomacy and Water Management promotes promotes women water professionals’ participation in decision-making in the water sector and gender mainstreaming in water governance, inthe Nile region and Central Asia and Afghanistan.The Women in Water Diplomacy network in the NileWomen in Water Management in Central Asia and Afghanistan
Shohida and Xanani also jointly participated in the side event co-convened by Tajikistan and the Basin Women’s Forums entitled ‘The Role and Perspectives of Women’s Participation in Integrated Water Resources Management in the Tajik Syrdarya and Kafarnigan River Basins and Nile Basin.’ They discussed the challenges that women face in accessing water resources and how women are working to address these challenges at the Basin level. They also spoke about the importance of women’s participation in decision-making processes related to water management and water use efficiency.
Shohida gained a lot of interesting and useful insights and appreciated the UN Water Conference as an invaluable networking platform fostering a more inclusive environment for water professionals and international organizations with interests in the water sector. Xanani welcomed the fact that actors and organisations across sectors were present at the conference: “the UN Water Conference organisers were able to bring together many stakeholders that we do not usually find in water dialogues such as the World Trade Organization and some private sectors institutions.”
Xanani was quite vocal on inclusivity and the missed opportunities for countries of the Global South, who were underrepresented at the event. Although she appreciated the fact that some countries and regional organisations such as Tajikistan, the Orange-Senqu River Basin Commission (ORASECOM), the Permanent Okavango River basin Water Commission (OKACOM) and Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM) and some others were able to participate physically in the conference and showcase their expertise, experience and strategies pertaining to inclusive and integrated water resources management, Xanani expressed concern regarding the challenging timeframe from the approval of sessions proposals to the start of the conference.
Looking ahead, Shohida committed to raising more awareness among students at the relevant universities in Sughd, Tajikistan, with the aim to motivate and inspire students to pursue university courses pertaining to managing water for sustainable development. Furthermore, she will help replicate the experience of the Basin Women Forum of the Syr Darya River to other basins in Tajikistan and contribute to the continued development of the Bottom-Up approach. Xanani thought her participation at the UN Water Conference was a deeply rewarding experience given that her career in transboundary water cooperation began in 2018, the year when the UN Water Action Decade was established. ‘With over 700 voluntary commitments made at the UNWC, thus bringing great perspective of water on the global agenda, the hope is that there will be accountability measures in place as I look forward to the rest of the implementation of commitments and reviews throughout the tenure of the Water Action Decade 2018 – 2028’, Xanani stated.
From the Network’s perspective, the general reflection is that the UN Water Conference is regarded as a strategic and prioritized milestone for collective Network engagements to tangibly impact the trajectory of water and peace-related discourse in the transboundary basins globally. We found a lot of value in the sessions we organized and participated in, and the networking platform afforded to our members.
More details on the various engagements can be found in the Women in Water Diplomacy Network After Action Report: The Water Diplomacy Symposium and Network Engagement in the 2023 UN Water Conference. Available in full here.