Mauritius, Pointe aux Piments – The Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities organised a workshop aiming at identifying gender gaps and recommend measures to be taken so as to promote gender equality in the water sector. Around 30 participants from the public and private sectors attended the initiative held at Le Meridien Hotel in Pointe aux Piments.
An expert on gender mainstreaming, Mrs Vasudha Pangare, was hired by the Atlantic and Indian Ocean SIDS Integrated Water Resources Management Project to support the development of guidelines and indicators for mainstreaming gender in the water, wastewater and energy sectors in Mauritius.
Gender mainstreaming is the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies and programmes in all areas and at all levels. Achieving gender equality sets the target for adopting sound policies as regards gender equality and empowerment of women and girls at all levels in line with the Sustainable Development Goal Five.
The workshop, facilitated by Mrs Vasudha Pangare, was organised under the framework of the National Integrated Water Resource Management Plan developed by the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities in July 2017. The Plan identifies a range of priority interventions that are required to implement integrated water resources management and address identified challenges facing water management in the country. It will enable a holistic approach to water management and facilitate concerted actions among the key institutions and stakeholders.
During his opening statement Mr Collendavelloo, the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities, stated that in Mauritius around 20% of households are headed by women and that out of the 240 000 domestic consumers in the water sector, 10% are females. As regards applications for the water tank scheme, 50% were made by women, he said. Hence the need to use a gender perspective in integrated water resource management so as to ensure that issues that affect women and men are part of the analysis, programme and project planning, implementation, and evaluation.
Currently, the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare is driving a push to promote the concept of gender responsive budgeting. Each Ministry should allocated funds for putting in place women empowerment initiatives and technical guidance should be provided as well.
Watch the video about the workshop:
The workshop is an indication of the Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities commitment to assess plans and policies from a gender standpoint. The impact is different for both men and women as regards water and water needs. Women and girls are often the first ones to benefit when services are improved. It is also important to ensure that more women are involved in the planning and implementation of water projects. The final national guidelines and indicators for gender mainstreaming in the water sector will be finalised by the end of October.
The Atlantic and Indian Ocean Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) project is regional initiative financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and executed by the United Nations Office for Project Support (UNOPS). It aims to promote sustainable water management and water use efficiency in Cabo Verde, Comoros, Maldives, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe and Seychelles.