UNESCO, through its Office in San José, promotes gender equality and the empowerment of women in the water resources sector. The Montevideo Strategy sets the roadmap for the implementation of the Regional Gender Agenda towards the fulfillment of the commitments of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with a special focus on ensuring cooperation and financing for the fulfillment of regional and international commitments. including those of the Lima Work Program on gender adopted in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The situation of water resources in Central America represents a complex panorama in a region with great challenges at the political, economic and social level; These challenges are intensified by the effects of climate change, precisely because of a weakened state structure and little planning in water management. Central America generally has high water availability, but the water does not reach the entire population or it does so without being of quality, which shows that the management of the resource in the region is barely incipient. The problem in the region is not that there is no water, but that more than 50 million people live in poverty, which increases the gaps in access to water and sanitation.
The Dublin Principle mentions that women play a central role in the provision, management and protection of water resources. The growing interconnectedness between gender, water and sustainable development demands that we do more to ensure greater gender equity in all our efforts to safeguard and properly manage water resources for future generations. The inclusion and strengthening of women in decision-making spaces is necessary. If women are half of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean, it would make sense that they have the same representation in different areas of society. It is a matter of human rights, however, according to UNDP data, women do 75% of unpaid domestic work, one in three of them does not generate income and 54% work in informal contexts, with fragile income and little social protection.
In this context, UNESCO San José and the United Nations World Water Assessment Program (WWAP), presented on November 4 the 2019 edition of the UNESCO WWAP Toolkit of data disaggregated by sex and water and gender indicators. This regional presentation of the Toolkit was accompanied by the launch of its training program that will begin in 2021.
According to WHO data, in more than 80% of cases it is women and girls who are in charge of managing and providing water to families, since in many cases they are the ones who manage household chores. Access to water and sanitation becomes vital for the control of pathogens such as the virus that causes COVID-19, data and information corresponding to this intrinsic relationship between women and water becomes vital in decision-making.
María Ester Serrano and the Minister Patricia Mora of the Ministry of Women in Costa Rica celebrated the launch of this event and mentioned that “every anecdote is a case, and every case a statistic, and if it is added, it reaches scientific evidence” and they mention the need to make visible the actions of women in all areas of life and ensure their human rights.