The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs Esther Didi Walson -Jack, MCIPM, mni has said that promoting gender equality is now globally accepted as a development strategy for reducing poverty levels, improving health and living standards, enhancing the efficiency of public investments, and equally a prerequisite for national growth and sustainable development.
She made this known when she paid a courtesy visit to the country representative, United Nations (UN) Women to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Beatrice Eyong, on Wednesday, 23rd November, 2022, in Abuja Nigeria to seek the Agencies collaboration and support to host a 3-day Workshop on “The Development of Implementation Guidelines and Action Plan on the Gender mainstreaming Policy for the Water Sector, and it’s implementation in Nigeria.
Speaking, Walson -Jack regrettably emphasized that Gender inequality significantly contributes to the failure of sustainable management of water resources programmes and projects at all levels and in all sub-sectors in Nigeria.
She said that the Gender Mainstreaming Policy in the Water Sector takes into cognisance the key provisions of the National Gender Policy and seeks to address existing barriers that hinder the equal participation of women and men in accessing clean water, Sanitation and hygiene, as well as climate change management and control.
“The overarching objective is to maximize the potential of all the existing policies, programs and projects to drive inclusive growth and sustainable socio-economic development by paying special attention to the needs of women, men, youth, person’s living with disabilities, and the elderly in the delivery of Water Sector Services”.
“The Policy outcome of the workshop would be subject to endorsement by the National Council on Water Resources. This is a pre-requisite for it’s consideration and subsequent approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for implementation in the Water Sector of Nigeria”
In her response, the Country representative of the United Nations (UN) Women to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Beatrice Eyong, said that Water resources management is a very important subject to the UN as the fullness became paramount during the covid-19 pandemic.
Eyong said that one of the UN’s mandate is ‘Gender Mainstreaming’.
“It is also the mandate if the UN Women as it was created by member states because they wanted this kind of gender mainstreaming, they wanted effective sustainable development and they wanted efficiency on what we do and obviously, all of us have our common 17goals which are the SDG’s”.
She explained that the UN Women have been given the mandate to promote gender equality and women empowerment.
She said that under Economic Empowerment of Women, statistics have shown that when resources are in the hands of women, there is a change that starts with the woman and trickles down to the community and the society at large and that is why it becomes pertinent that women participate, lead and benefit in public life.
Explaining the need for gender mainstreaming Eyong said that there is apparently no enterprise that strive without water and a woman’s special need is water and this should be taken into cognisance.
She opined, “water is very important to climate Smart Agriculture especially now that we have to be mitigating the risks of climate change and the need to help our women to be resilient to the effects of climate change”.
Eyong, who confirmed the UN Women’s readiness in carrying out the proposed workshop said that the UN three mandates are Coordination mandate, normative mandate and operational mandate as they are poised towards making empowerment a reality from the Federal level down to the Local government through implementation of programs.
The Deputy country representative, Mr. Lansana Wonneh and the Programmes manager, Spotlight Initiative, Tosin Akibu in their briefs agreed that the starting point of life is water and if the distribution of water is inefficient, there will be increase in the burden women have to bear and water is in the center of so many developments.
Mrs Kenechukwu Offie.
23rd November, 2022