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Gender – Water – Land Rights 5 June 2014, Bern. Gender – Water - Land Rights In the context of the negotiations of a new global sustainable development.

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Presentation on theme: "Gender – Water – Land Rights 5 June 2014, Bern. Gender – Water - Land Rights In the context of the negotiations of a new global sustainable development."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender – Water – Land Rights 5 June 2014, Bern

2 Gender – Water - Land Rights In the context of the negotiations of a new global sustainable development agenda ‘post2015’ By Sascha Gabizon Women International for a Common Future (WECF) Co-facilitator Women’s Major Group to UN

3 Introduction WECF International International Network on Gender Equality and Sustainable Development with 150 Member organisations in 50 countries 4 Offices: the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland Non-governmental, not-for-profit organisations Specific expertise in gender equitable policies and implementation in the areas of: Sustainable Water and Sanitation for All Safe chemicals and waste management for All Sustainable Energy for All Sustainable Food for All

4 Gender aspects of water Water use and management is typically divided by gender In general: Women and children have responsibility for supplying water for domestic use and for the irrigation of subsistence crops Men tend to use water primarily for commercial and income- generation purposes, including for direct sale as water vendors or for livestock. With many exceptions of course ! …


6 In Armenia. Photo by WECF



9 Gender & Water Women more often then men responsible for collecting water by foot/hand for: Consumption Maintaining sanitation Cooking and cleaning Agricultural activities Child care Consequences reported: Sexual abuse and violence on way to wells (& toilets) Less time for productive, educational and social activities Infections from contaminated water


11 Unpaid care & domestic work


13 Barrier for women & men These gendered roles and uses create expectations for women and men Can create barriers for social change and improvement Uganda: research shows that men who collect water for domestic use are seen by women as either unable to afford water from a vendor (a negative perception for their status as men) lacking children or even mentally unstable.

14 Socio-economic and Land right aspects of water Socio-economic status is also a determining factor for access to water e.g.: women and girls from poorer, marginalized communities – who often do not have secure land rights – are generally more dependent upon open water sources Reliance on open sources can lead to less secure water access, as well as higher exposure to disease and increased rates of competition

15 Water and violence against women and girls Women can face direct competition with men for communal water resources during droughts This may be further exacerbated in areas where freshwater resources are in decline due to environmental degradation and poor water resource management Physical threats to women can also arise in areas where local conflicts flare up over disputed access to natural resources. Water points and grazing lands, for instance, put women at particular risk every day

16 Increased competition for water Water use will increase by est. 50 % in the next 30 years Half the planet’s population (4 billion people) will at that time live under conditions of severe water stress With conditions especially acute in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia Additional pressure from steady deterioration in water quality (not just developing countries, now also from fracking)

17 Wastewater Production worldwide 2 million tons of waste per day are discharged to receiving waters – human waste – industrial wastes and chemicals – agricultural wastes An approximate estimate of global wastewater production is about 1,500 km3 per day Source: United Nations World Water Development Report, 2003

18 Poor often pay most for water Water markets show great inequalities based on income and location *UNDP’s Human Development Report 2006 reports People living in poverty (majority are women): Often pay the highest price for water Are the most vulnerable in a water crisis

19 Inequalities Water Sector Great inequalities in water sector –> women most affected 5x more people without improved drinking water in rural areas The poorest people have lowest levels of services Women and girls shoulder the largest burden of collecting water (resp. 62% and 9%) Poor women living in rural areas are disproportionately affected Current ODA not sufficiently addressing those most in need Almost 66% of the official development assistance (ODA)for water is targeted to the development of large scale water systems (source: UNICEF/WHO 2012)

20 Water is big business Water = 1 of 3 largest industries in the world (alongside oil & gas, and electricity) Investor deals in infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, amounted to $145 billion in 2006 The two sectors in the world that use the most water are (chemical) intensive agriculture and fossil fuel- based energy production. Extractive industry = water intensive (required for extraction, mining, processing, refining and residue disposal)

21 Women & poor more dependent on water, land, natural ecosystems As the environment deteriorates, poor women's livelihoods increasingly at risk Food and water security go hand in hand. Without water women cannot grow or process food Up to 80% of food security in Sub Saharan Africa ensured by small women farmers (FAO) Worldwide, 80% of poor (women, indigenous) depend on access to health ecosystems (TEEB) Women more impacted by changes in access, quality

22 Women, water & land tenure Land tenure also plays an important role in women’s control over and access to water Globally, women estimated to own 1-2% of land Esp. in several African countries, women’s legal property ownership rights are not secure, e.g. Land ownership cannot be inherited by women, goes back to husbands family Widows, grandmothers, depend on “common” lands Women work husbands land for share of produce...of course matrilenear cultures co-exist in many countries…

23 Increased competition between women and corporations for water Land grabbing companies and governments have acquired at least 227 million hectares in developing countries, most of it since 2009 (Oxfam) Damage from extractives to (women’s) farmland, forests or fishing waters from extractive processes and women’s displacement from land as a result of mining activities Industrial and agricultural over-consumption of water, use often lead to unsustainable pressure on water resources and irreversible damage to the underlying aquifers e.g. Kerala: court case won by local farmers against Coca cola water use Aral Sea: – cotton growing & Victoria Lake – Intensive agriculture Niger: – water used for uranium mining…

24 Example 1 Extractive Industry: Land and Water Grabs from Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala Court case re. security personnel of the Canadian mining company Hudbay gang-raped 11 women, shot dead an Indigenous leaders in Guatemala The specific context of the attack, rape[s] and murder is related to the mining company wanting to get the Q'eqchi' people off their land so they can get the mineral resources under the ground. Resources are being extracted for the benefit of Canadians—and primarily Canadian stockholders—at the expense of primarily Indigenous communities in Guatemala Since the July 22, 2013, decision to hold the court case, some Mayan Q'eqchi' women have received threats pressuring them to withdraw the lawsuits

25 Example 2 Export Crops, Land and Water Grabs from Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala From2000 to 2010, export revenues from sugar and palm-oil increasing by 108% and 587%, respectively, to EU, USA... The benefits of this export boom are highly concentrated. 14 companies control >80% sugar plantations and 100% of sugar mills 5 companies control 100% ethanol production 8 families control 98% oil palm and 100% palm oil mills Land for this boom from violent evictions and other coercive practices Peasants who refuse to sell at non-negotiable prices are harassed lands are enclosed within large plantations

26 Example 2 Export Crops (continued) Q’eqchi’ women are mobilizing against land deals with agribusinesses often against their male partners Women act collectively, join forces and are often the loudest voices against corporate middle-men and together try to halt plantation agriculture In some cases, individual women have hidden land titles from their partners to prevent them from selling their lands

27 Human Right to water and sanitation In 2010, the UN General Assembly recognized the human right to water and sanitation Clean drinking water and improved sanitation are integral to the realization of all human rights. Access to potable water is considered an equal right, regardless of ability to pay Right-to-water legislation currently exists in 15 countries in Latin America, 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, 4 countries in South Asia, 2 countries in East Asia and the Pacific, and 2 countries in the Arab region (UNDP)

28 Water Hierarchy – priority for people Address tensions between water use by extractives, commercial agriculture, energy production and the human right to water and sanitation Protect people and their communities from powerful interests that are competing for access to scarce water supplies Prioritize the water needs of people over industrial consumption through legislation Catarina de Albuquerque UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation

29 Principles for new global development agenda (SDGs/post2015) 1. People over Corporations – changing current rules and regulations SDG should establish a hierarchy of water use that prioritizes human needs, the public interest and environmental protection. The SDG framework must be based on the precautionary principle in order to ensure that development does not destroy/pollute watersheds The SDG framework must create measures to reverse land and water grabs and allow communities to request the renegotiation of trade agreements which have lead to human rights abuse

30 Principles for new global development agenda (SDGs/post2015) 2. Human rights based goals and targets Numerical targets are meaningless -> need commitment to human rights approach with focus on needs of marginalized MDG failed to meet the needs of the poorest segments of the population who remained excluded. A human rights approach calls instead for the prioritization of those who are excluded from water and sanitation services In the SDG OWG11 document the human right to water and sanitation has been omitted SDG should have indicators that accurately measure safety, affordability, accessibility and acceptability of water and sanitation services

31 Principles for new global development agenda (SDGs/post2015) 3. Laying the foundation: protection of land and resource rights and redistribution based on FPIC Ensure full application of Free Prior and Informed Consent Protect indigenous and traditional land users including commons (lands, forests, fishing areas) Redistribution of land (reform) programs with targets for gender equality (e.g. South Africa, Colombia) Change legislation where still excluding women’s ownership Free legal support for women, marginalized communities

32 Goals and targets: water & land Enacting women’s equal land and water rights in legislation of all countries Prohibition of water grabs and the private acquisition of watersheds A zero target on pollution and dumping of toxic materials in water bodies, with full legal and financial accountability and remedy for transgressions A zero target on harm done by extractive industry in vital watershed areas A zero target on fresh water extraction beyond sustainable supply A zero target on mortality due to lack of safe water and hygiene

33 Goals and targets: water & land (2) Ensure that women have full and equal decision making regarding land, water and overall natural resource management in their communities and national level Democratic management of water resources, inclu. public participation in the management of watersheds and in decision-making regarding use and allocation of water Reparation mechanisms for violation of the right to water and other associated rights Support women at the community level with sustainable natural resource management Legal aid programmes for women’s resource rights

34 Proposals OWG on SDGs global goals 3/6/14 Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere 1.5. by 2030 ensure development opportunities for all men and women, including secure rights to own land, property and other productive resources, and access to financial services, with particular focus on the poor, the most marginalized and people in vulnerable situations Goal 5: Gender Equality & Women and Girls Empowerment 5.7 ensure women’s equal access to, control and ownership of assets and natural and other productive resources, as well as non-discriminatory access to essential services and infrastructure, including financial services and ICT

35 Proposed goal 6. Secure water and sanitation for all for a sustainable world 6.1 by 2030, provide universal access to safe and affordable drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene for all 6.2 by 2030 provide universal access to safe and affordable sanitation and hygiene including at home, schools, health centers and refugee camps, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls 6.3 by 2030, improve water quality by significantly reducing pollution, eliminating dumping of toxic materials, and improving wastewater management by x%, recycling and reuse by y% 6.4 by 2030, improve water-use efficiency by x% across all sectors

36 Proposed goal 6. Secure water and sanitation for all for a sustainable world (2) 6.5 implement integrated water resources management, including appropriate trans-boundary co-operation 6.6 ensure sustainable extraction and supply of fresh water, and by 2020 protect and restore ecosystems and aquifers that provide water-related services 6.7 by 2030 decrease by x% mortality, and decrease by y% economic losses caused by natural and human-induced water- related disasters 6.8 provide adequate facilities and infrastructure, both built and natural, for safe drinking water and sanitation systems, for productive uses of water resources and for mitigating the impacts of water-related disasters


38 Thank you Sascha Gabizon

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