OPENING REMARKS BY THE PERMANENT SECRETARY, MRS. DIDI ESTHER WALSON-JACK, mni, AT THE SENSITIZATION WORKSHOP ON GENDER-BASED PERSPECTIVE IN INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
It is a great pleasure and honour for me to be with you today and to address you at this opening of the Sensitization Workshop on Gender-Based Perspective in Integrated Water Resources Management.
- This meeting holds great promise as it will address the current and emerging challenges in water resources management, especially as it affects women and girls in our society.
- As we are all aware, water is the main source of sustainable livelihood. The Nation’s policy on water resources is tailored towards protection, management and sustainable exploitation of both freshwater and marine resources while enhancing biodiversity for equitable benefit to the public. Regrettably, it is a known fact that men dominate in most water related sectors and activities. In many contexts, women’s dependence on and unequal access to land, water, and other resources and productive assets is compounded by limited mobility and decision-making power and this implies that they are disproportionately affected by climate change.
- In addition, women and girls typically carry the largest burden of unpaid care and domestic work, which only increases in a changing climate. Further, women often have primary responsibility for water and fuel provisioning. Indeed, climate-induced drought and scarcity affect the time and level of effort required to collect, secure, distribute and store this resource.
- This sensitization workshop is one of the activities of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources designed to prepare its Staff to handle and respond to gender sensitive issues and provide an environment where men and women can work together with a sense of personal security and dignity. For this purpose, the Gender Units in the Ministries, Agencies and River Basin Development Authorities must show more concern and be interested in awareness about gender issues and work towards creating an enabling environment of gender justice.
- I am confident that this workshop would help you develop an understanding of basic gender concepts and their application to the long- term implementation of programming and initiatives. There is no doubt that it would strengthen your awareness of the gender roles, expectations and issues and their impact on integrated water resources management. With some interest, your receptiveness and support for the social, economic, and political empowerment of women would significantly increase.
- The overreaching goal of organizing this gender sensitization is to raise your awareness on gender dynamics, the key role that women can play in decision-making processes, make you aware of the power relations between men and women in society, the importance to consider the specific needs of women and girls, and hopefully you would play a role in supporting their access to basic rights and services.
- After this sensitization workshop, we expect that you would become the critical mass that will make the case for the role that women can play in decision-making processes and the need to systematically consult and involve them in discussions that can dramatically affect their lives.
- On our own part and as a woman, I will continue to strengthen and champion the role of women as active players in river basin management. Be assured that Management would give unequivocal support to the Gender Units in the execution of its responsibility of mainstreaming gender in the work we do in the Ministry.
- In conclusion, I strongly believe that the workshop has important national benefits as it will serve as a basis for continued strategic engagement of women in the Water Sector.
- It is now my privilege to, and I hereby, declare this Sensitization Workshop on Gender-Based Perspective in Integrated Water Resources Management open. I wish you successful deliberations.
- Thank you and God bless you.
Mrs. Didi Esther Walson-Jack Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Water Resources
Monday, 22 February 2021.