Women for Water at COP24:
"Invest in women to support nature based solutions"
The 24th edition of the United Nations Climate Conference, COP24, takes place from 2-14 December in Katowice, Poland. WfWP is present to jointly with The Butterfly Effect and Soroptimist International emphasize key messages on the fact that Water is at the heart of climate change and it is through water that climate change will most notably impact on our societies and ecosystems.
WfWP and SI president Mariet Verhoef-Cohen participates in multiple COP24 events. On World Soil Day (5th December) she joined a panel discussion on: Why is it difficult to implement nature based solutions for water, land and soil management?
Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) offer a promising contribution to manipulate natural resource conditions for productive purposes and human consumption, while simultaneously striving to preserve integrity and intrinsic value of the ecosystem. . Yet, it is not easy to implement NBS. The reason is that ecosystems are often large and complex and the impact of interventions can only be assessed and analyzed at a system-wide level. As a rule, many stakeholders are involved, as owners, users or caretakers, each with their own set of interests and values and it is not an easy to reconcile these complex objectives and interests into a coherent set of principles and procedures.
However, from a gender perspective WfWP believes that women don’t think it is too difficult to implement Nature Based Solutions. Mariet Verhoef-Cohen:
"Nature-based solutions have been around for thousands of years; Women’s traditional and indigenous knowledge tends to favor existing nature-based solutions and practices. Women could easily be persuaded to learn and start new approaches that will combine old and new methods. NBS support a circular economy that is restorative and regenerative by design and promotes greater resource productivity aiming to reduce waste and avoid pollution, including through reuse and recycling. Women support this.
Multiple WfWP members demonstrate this: In Bulgaria WfWP, Soroptimist International and Earth Forever are implementing the WeWash programme, teaching women to construct eco toilets and use and reuse the waste on their vegetable plots. The project also provides clean drinking water to the communities and educates hygiene to families in the villages.
Tegemeo in Tanzania found a hybrid solution combining gravity for water management systems, a NB solution, with modern technologies.
Governments, institutes, educations and technicians are a bit biased towards such so-called grey modern technologies. We are educated to think that new technology is always better. It is also not easy to determine the cost price of NBS and that is why we find it difficult to convince investors and other institutions to invest in NBS. As a result vocational training and education programs tend to only focus on modern technology as well.
Successful case studies understand the functioning of ecosystems and ask for endurance to organize trans-disciplinary platforms, establish funding schemes and implement monitoring and evaluation systems.
Involving rural and local women in the discussion would support implementation of NBS: Invest in women, they have practiced Nature Based Solutions generation on generation, with little exposure to modern technologies and schooling."