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Women, Girls Must Be At Center Of Water, Food Security Efforts

Noting “World Water Week recently concluded in Stockholm with a special emphasis on the linkages between water and food security,” Lakshmi Puri, assistant secretary-general and deputy executive director of U.N. Women, writes in this Inter Press Service opinion piece, “Creating a water- and food-secure world requires putting women and girls at the center of water- and food-related policies, actions and financing.” She continues, “Women are not only beneficiaries of greater water and food security; they can also enable greater progress in these areas.” Puri states, “Four urgent actions must be taken to unleash women’s potential.”

According to Puri, “women need to be recognized [in laws and policies] as water managers, farmers and irrigators, who contribute to ensuring sustainable food production and consumption and to safeguarding the environment”; “governments and other partners need to ensure that women are empowered along the water and food supply chain”; “[w]omen must be provided with technical training on water management, irrigation, rainwater harvesting, and rain-fed agriculture”; and “women must be recognized as decision-makers in water governance.” She adds, “In summary, an ‘ecosystem of policies’ must be created — an enabling environment with strong institutions, targeted programs, capacity-building, functioning systems and sectoral policies” (9/11).