Gender and Water Governance in the Mekong Region

Assessment and Opportunities

Gender and water governance in the Mekong region
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Paper publication date: 
Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Women play a critical role in providing, managing and safeguarding water resources. This makes it necessary to identify solutions to enhance their participation in water governance at different levels. Poor understanding of the distinct roles and contributions of men and women often leads to a lack of recognition of their distinct needs and interests in policies and programmes linked to water management. This lack of recognition can result in a failure to meet global social, economic and ecological targets such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Interventions aimed at balancing gender relations in water-related domains can also help further gender equality more broadly.

To address these issues, IUCN’s BRIDGE (Building River Dialogue and Governance) programme, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), worked in collaboration with the Inclusion Project of Oxfam supported by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), to initiate research on gender in water governance in the Mekong region.

The Gender, Environment and Development (GED) Cluster of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) in Bangkok was engaged to lead the research and produce this report. Furthermore, IUCN and Oxfam facilitated a Regional Forum on Gender Equity and Women’s Leadership in Transboundary Water Governance in the Lower Mekong Basin in Vientiane, Lao PDR, from 13 to 15 September 2017 to gather input for the development of this report. This report, titled Gender and water governance in the Mekong region, is an assessment of current water governance policies and institutional arrangements in the Mekong region from a gender equality perspective. Based on this assessment, the report identifies strategic opportunities for gender-responsive actions to address current gender gaps and strengthen women’s leadership and engagement in water governance issues.