Expert Group Meeting discusses strengthening gender mainstreaming efforts in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector


UN Women convened an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Gender Equality and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, on 14–15 December 2017, to strengthen gender mainstreaming efforts in the WASH sector. The report has been released today.

Because the lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene has foundational and often devastating consequences for women and girls in areas such as poverty, health, education and empowerment, the localization and implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) on ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, requires explicit attention to gender equality and the empowerment of women in related institutional structures and processes, as well as in policies, programmes and budgets.

The objectives of the EGM were two-fold:

  • to identify entry points for gender mainstreaming in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector, including through establishing a shared understanding of the linkages between gender equality and water, sanitation and hygiene and exchanging lessons learned and good practices; and
  • to introduce and validate the “Water, sanitation and hygiene sector-wide action plan” as a framework to enhance institutional accountability for mainstreaming gender in urban water, sanitation and hygiene.

The meeting brought together several UN partners working on WASH: the Sanitation and Water for All; the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council; the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene; UNICEF; and UN Water. It also included national partners from Liberia, Niger, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.

Discussions highlighted the intrinsic linkages between WASH and gender equality and identified strategic entry points for gender mainstreaming, including how the UN system can better support the gender-responsive implementation of WASH policies and programmes and enhance synergies with SDG 5 on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. The meeting also introduced a sector-wide framework to strengthen institutional accountability for gender equality results in the WASH sector (WASH SWAP).

To reinforce effective UN system joint action on gender equality and WASH, participants identified entry points to strengthen programmatic responses and accountability in UNDAF and/or joint programme development. Participants also provided feedback on the proposed WASH SWAP and opportunities for taking the work forward.

Read the report ►