Women and water: on the frontline of climate change

Climate change, Gender
The shackles of limitations
Image: WaterAid/ Aida Muluneh

The climate crisis is deepening the devastating impact of widespread gender inequality. As stewards of water, women and girls confront the effects of climate change every day, yet often lack the decision-making power to influence commitments of climate finance to water security.

The webinar ‘Women and water: on the frontline of climate change’ was hosted by the United Nations University – Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH), The Canadian Coalition on Climate Change and Development and WaterAid. The key objectives were to discuss and demonstrate the following points:

  • Gender responsive climate finance must include water security, sanitation and hygiene towards water-related adaptation finance.
  • To ensure women's expertise and experience as proactive adaptation actors are elevated in decision making, their voices and leadership are essential in platforms of power.
  • Bridging the gap between locally led water security and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) actors and global climate finance dialogues requires participative and cooperative engagement across all levels.

The webinar included statements by the Governments of Mozambique and Madagascar and presentations by UNU-INWEH, WaterAid and the African Development Bank to demonstrate data and evidence, pathways for gender equality and the essential element of gender-responsive climate finance that includes investment in WASH.

Download the slides (PDF), and watch the webinar below:

Joint statement

Building from this dialogue, a joint statement advocates five calls to action for COP27 and beyond, across gender equality, water security, WASH and climate resilience.

Download in English (PDF)

Télécharger en français (PDF)

Statement by Madagascar's Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development

Download a transcript of the above statement in English et français (PDF).


AfDB (2021) Group Gender Strategy 2021–2025.

AfDB (2021) Water Policy.

AfDB (2022) Water Strategy 2021–2025:  Towards a Water Secure Africa.

Caretta et al (2022) Water. In: Climate Change 2022:  Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (PDF). (Sections 4.6.4 Adaptation in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector; 4.8.3 Gender, Equity and Social Justice) 

ICA (2018) Infrastructure Financing Trends in Africa – 2018 (PDF).

OECD (2021) Water Governance in African Cities, OECD Studies on Water.

UNICEF and WHO (2022) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in Africa 2000–2020:  Five years into the SDGs (PDF).

UNU-INWEH (2022) Water Security in Africa:  A Preliminary Assessment.

UNU-INWEH (2022) Quantification of Water-Gender Interlinkages for Greater Inclusivity.

WaterAid (2018) Improving water security and management of water resources in Sahelian WASH programmes:  a toolkit.

WaterAid (2022) Integrating gender equality into community water, sanitation and hygiene projects – guidance note