Water for Women at UN 7th International Day of Women & Girls in Science Assembly

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Water for Women brings Asia-Pacific perspectives to UN 7th International Day of Women and Girls in Science Assembly


Water for Women has brought Asia-Pacific perspectives to the UN’s 7th International Day of Women & Girls in Science Assembly high-level panel on Investing in Water for Sustainable Development, held virtually from UN New York headquarters on 11 February 2022.

Speaking as part of the distinguished international panel for Conversation 2: Financing Innovative Science- and Green Technology-based Water Solutions and Programs, Water for Women Fund Manager Dr Alison Baker shared insights on the Fund’s modality, balancing innovation, existing knowledge and science, and how it builds evidence for technological and social solutions and contributes to the pre-conditions for additional investment.  

“Water for Women programming is underpinned by intentional collaborative learning processes involving diverse perspectives, which helps build evidence of what works or doesn’t work not only with respect to infrastructure and technology selection but the institutional and social context in which WASH services are delivered,” Dr Baker explained.

“Research, and data collection at country/project level is extended by collaborative learning processes that we can share across the Fund and the broader WASH sector. Partners are also applying a suite of targeted approaches framed by the Fund’s Towards Transformation in WASH Strategy to systematically identify existing barriers to WASH access so that they are actively addressed. This ensures the voice of women and marginalised communities are involved in decision-making processes in safe, appropriate and empowering ways and informing selection of appropriate solutions and/or technology.

“In addition to this foundation of evidence and learning, the Fund design has ensured there is sufficient flexibility and adaptability to incorporate or pursue new ideas and partnerships to address emerging issues. While Fund partners have contributed to creating enabling environments and encouraging increased investment in inclusive, resilient WASH by governments, they have also started to explore the application of blended finance approaches to the WASH sector.”

Water for Women projects with WaterAid in Papua New Guinea, iDE in Cambodia and RTI in India were touched on as innovative examples flowing from the Fund.

The panel conversation was moderated by Ms Josefina Maestu, Water Economics Expert, Water Advisor of the Secretary of State for the Environment, Spain.

Water for Women was also represented by research partner, the University of Technology Sydney Institute for Sustainable Futures in Conversation 1: Women in Science for Water and Society: Bridging Voices to Action. Panelist Professor Juliet Willetts highlighted, “... as an applied researcher, I aim to answer questions derived from practitioners, communities and policymakers, responsive to the challenges they face, and the questions to which they need answers... there is a case for further emphasis on transdisciplinary research that crosses disciplinary boundaries amongst scholars and scientists addressing water focused issues, particularly amongst research institutions in Asia and the Pacific.”

The contributions of Professor Willetts and Dr Baker were positively received by fellow panelists and clearly demonstrated the value Water for Women brings to global conversations.

Watch Dr Alison Baker’s presentation.

Watch Panel 2 in full to hear from the whole panel. 

The full day’s program can also be viewed on UN Web TV.  

The United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science focuses on the reality that science and gender equality are both vital to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, of which Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 – clean water and sanitation for all – is cross-cutting and integral to achieving all SDGs.

The 7th Assembly was jointly organised by the Royal Academy of Science International Trust. It brought together women in science and experts from around the world, high-level government officials, representatives of international organisations and the private sector to discuss the water nexus in achieving the three pillars of sustainable development - economic prosperity, social justice, and environmental integrity. 

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