PROJECT: WOMEN IN WATER MANAGEMENT IN CENTRAL ASIA AND AFGHANISTANReport back: Central Asia & Afghanistan engagement 2021

2021 saw the launch of the Central Asia – Afghanistan Women in Water Management Network. Here is an highlight of a transformative year!

Network development and design

The Central Asia and Afghanistan Network engagement aims to establish a community of women experts and professionals engaging in different aspects of transboundary water cooperation processes in Central Asia and Afghanistan. The convening partners SIWI, OSCE and CAREC work to support the professional development of the group through providing tools and capacity building opportunities. The Network’s process design has been adapted from the Women in Water Diplomacy Network following the Shared Waters Partnership dialogue process design – with sessions beginning with an informal discussion and check-ins for Network members; followed by Network announcements; information session; dialogues and experience exchange; and monitoring and evaluation.  Each workshop in this series supporting the Women in Water Management Network will focus on a key aspect of water governance, including water diplomacy, as well as key skills building sessions. The engagement strategy is built on sharing experience, design, monitoring and evaluation, and identifying barriers as well as opportunities for to participation.

Launch of new Central Asia – Afghanistan Women in Water Management Network in partnership with CAREC and OSCE

OSCE webinar screenshotJune 2021

In June 2021, SIWI joined the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Regional Environment Centre for Central Asia (CAREC) in the launch of the new regional Network in Central Asia and Afghanistan. The new collaboration will enable experience exchange and peer to peer learning between the members from across Central Asia-Afghanistan as well as with the women water diplomats engaged in the Nile Basin and beyond. To learn more about OSCE’s approach to water diplomacy and mainstreaming gender in water governance visit their website.

12th Central Asian Leadership Programme (CALP) on environment for sustainable development

September 2021

The 12th CALP focused on sustainable consumption and production, circular/ green economy, management of water and energy resources and their significant impact on food supply and security, ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation, transition towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient and circular economy. SIWI and OSCE participated in CALP for the 6th year. Women in Water Management Network members were invited to participate in the event and share their experience. An Introduction to Water Diplomacy was presented by SIWI’s Kerry Schneider, and SIWI’s Swedish Water House’s Therese Rudebeck lead an interactive session on corporate water resource management and the role of the private sector in sustainable water resources management.

Collage with photos of members of the Women in water management network in Central Asia and AfghanistanSource: OSCE

 

Women, Water Management, and Conflict Prevention Central Asia – Afghanistan network kick-off

September 15, 2021

SIWI and partners OSCE and CAREC convened the first ‘official’ meeting of the full Women, Water Management and Conflict Prevention Network with 20 participants joining from five of the six Network countries including Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. This was the first in the series of monthly Friday workshops in this engagement series. The session also included a presentation of the results of the pre-engagement network survey that identified the breadth of knowledge and experience of the group as well as key areas of interest for the developing network and identify barriers to leadership including age, cultural stereotypes and social norms and entrenched general predominance of men in the water sector.

Gender and Water side-event, Central Asian regional preparatory conference for the World Water Forum

October 19, 2021

OSCE convened a side event in Dushanbe. Jenniver Sehring (IHE Delft), opened the meeting with a keynote on ‘Masculinity and water diplomacy in Central Asia’. This was followed by a presentation of the Women, Water Management and Conflict Prevention programme running from 2017-2022. Members of the Women in Water Management Network were in attendance. Shohida Tulieva (NWRM Project and Network member) and Sophie Nguyen Khoa Man (Helvetas HO) provided a basin level example for enhancing women’s participation in IWRM from the Basin Women’s Forums in the Tajik Syr Darya River Basin. The session closed with a presentation on UNESCO’s tool for sex-disaggregated water data and uptake, from Kristine Tovmasyan (UNESCO).

Women, Water Management, and Conflict Prevention Central Asia – Afghanistan network first session: Water management and planning & public speaking

October 29, 2021

SIWI and partners OSCE and CAREC convened the first workshop of the Women, Water Management and Conflict Prevention Network. The workshop, focused on water management planning, was led by SIWI’s UNDP Water Governance Facility expert David Hebart-Coleman drawing on the framework developed by Jiménez et al (2019) “Unpacking Water Governance: A Framework for Practitioners.” This session was followed by a fun and interactive session from Dmitriy Arkhipov, International Business Coach, focused on public presentation and speaking that got Network members laughing and trying out new techniques.

Women, Water Management, and Conflict Prevention Central Asia – Afghanistan network second session: Sustainable water management and “branding myself”

November 26, 2021

The second Network session was held on 26 November. The first session was led by SIWI’s International Policy expert Tove Lexén, and focused on Sustainable Water Management with a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This was followed by a skills-building session on utilizing social media to advance professional networks and share knowledge, led by SIWI’s Communications Department, Communications Manager Cécile Pillon Hue. Reflections on SDG implementation in Kyrgyzstan, regarding water and gender equality were also highlighted by Gulzhan Makhmudova, Environmental Sustainability Expert at the Regulatory Office for

Industrial Safety in the Ministry of Energy and Industry Kyrgyzstan. Additionally, the briefing “Water in Central Asia, an Increasingly Scarce Resource” was identified as a useful overview for the region by members.

Launch of the new Central Asia and Afghanistan Network webpage

January 2022

Get an introduction to the Central Asia and Afghanistan Network, meet our members, and learn about the evolution of this engagement. The Network is co-convened by SIWI with OSCE and CAREC. OSCE also launched their network website for Women, Water Management and Conflict Prevention — Phase II and information about the Mentoring and Career Development Programme for women water professionals in Central Asia and Afghanistan.

Podcast series: Female role models in water management | OSCE

February 2022

The OSCE in partnership with the Central Asia Youth for Water Network (CAY4W Network), is developing a series of podcasts dedicated to female role models from Central Asia and Afghanistan, sharing their experience in the water sector and engaging them in cross-regional and inter-generational discussion. The episodes will provide an opportunity for junior and senior women professionals to share their views on challenges and opportunities in the water sector and to raise awareness on the importance of women’s participation in water management in the region. The activity is part of the OSCE project “Women, Water Management and Conflict Prevention – Phase II”. In a forthcoming episode “Water Cooperation and Women Participation in Negotiation Processes”, SIWI’s Dr Martina Klimes, Adviser on Water and Peace and the two regional coordinators of CAY4W Cholpon Aitakhunova and Najim Nasimi have a meaningful conversation on water cooperation. Dr Klimes takes us through what she learned and what made her grow in the water sector, something that students and aspiring professionals will benefit from hearing. She also gives insights on the importance of women participation in various stages of negotiation processes, especially when crucial decisions are being made, underlining how gender mainstreaming in water management can meaningfully contribute to advancing peace and security.

Photography competition: Women in water management

OSCE Photo competition

February 2022

The OSCE has launched the Photography Competition “Women in Water Management” to raise awareness on the importance of gender mainstreaming and women’s participation in water management and governance. A photography booklet dedicated to the role of women in water management will be developed with a special focus on Central Asia, including the award-winning photographs from the competition. For more details and guidelines for participation please see rules and regulations. This activity is part of the OSCE project “Women, Water Management and Conflict Prevention – Phase II”.