Through a series of presentations, interactive demonstrations and creative brainstorming sessions, the ‘Oxfam IUCN Gender and Women’s Leadership in Water Governance workshop’ developed leadership and capacity for gender integration in water governance, and encouraged participants to share experiences on gender analysis and women’s leadership development at the grassroots level.
“I think we do need individual women leaders to show or lead the way for other women. The development of women’s leadership will bring the voices of women to policy level and high level platforms and this is very important,” says Raphael Glemet, Senior Programme Officer, IUCN Asia Regional Office.
Taking centre stage at the workshop were ‘Market Place’ sessions which enabled CSOs and individuals to showcase their work and experiences supporting women’s inclusion and leadership development in water governance. A case study video of Dary Thanh, a young community leader supported by the Oxfam Inclusion project, was a highlight as it showcased the role various communication channels like radio and theatre play in raising awareness about resource governance and safeguarding the rights of indigenous peoples.
IUCN’s BRIDGE programme’s Vishwaranjan Sinha presented the outcomes of the BRIDGE CSO Forum which took place in December 2015. The forum provided a better understanding of what the 3S IWRM (Integrated Water Resource Management) strategy should focus on. During the gender workshop, participants shared their views on how the strategy could be more gender sensitive and responsive. They also emphasised the importance of involving gender champions, women organisations and relevant government agencies in the strategy’s consultation process.
IUCN Global Water Programme’s Isabelle Fauconnier presented IUCN’s principles on gender integration, as well as the Environment and Gender Index (EGI). Developed by the IUCN Global Gender Office, the EGI is the first global tool that brings together gender and environment variables, allowing for easy monitoring of progress toward gender equality in the environmental arena.
IUCN Asia’s flagship initiative Mangroves for the Future also played a supporting role in the workshop by explaining how the MFF Small Grant Fund (SGF) programme has lead to women’s empowerment in coastal resource dependent communities.
The workshop concluded with the identification of concrete steps to take moving forward and the key considerations in mainstreaming gender in water governance in the Lower Mekong Basin. In summary, participants came to a consensus that there was a need for a regional networking platform that focuses on the issue of gender integration. The following recommendations were made on how international organisations like IUCN and Oxfam can contribute to this:
- Mapping existing regional platforms such as ASEAN and CEDAW including their mandates and gender responsive work across sectors.
- Integrating common mandates by identifying the support mechanisms within these regional platforms (e.g. technical support, knowledge exchange, data gathering etc) for better impact at regional and national level.
- Working with regional and national research organisations and data repositories; facilitate sharing of data and development of data collection tools that are more gender sensitive.