WATER, CLIMATE CHANGE AND WOMEN: THE KEY TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The 2030 Agenda leaves no room for doubt: development will only be sustainable if the benefits are equally favourable to women and men, if water resources are protected, and integrated, sustainable water management is implemented. And all of this must take place in a context of adaptation to climate change.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development1 was ratified in September 2015. The Agenda features 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and 169 targets, which are universally applicable, integrated and indivisible. These goals and targets encompass the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental dimensions.

The transition to sustainable, resilient societies depends on responsible management of natural resources, with very special emphasis on water. but we are currently facing a water security crisis, in terms of both quantity and quality, as well as with respect to an acceptable level of risk associated with water for people, the environment and the economy. There are different waterrelated pressures, such as scarcity, extreme weather phenomena, pollution, unbalanced population growth and climate change.

The SDG make water a priority issue that requires immediate actions. SDG 6 specifically sets targets related to water and sanitation, water quality, efficient water use in all sectors and integrated management of water resources, amongst others. But water is much more than just a specific SDG. Water and water services play a key, transversal role in achieving the SDG as a whole.

Water services are vital, basic public services that contribute to: reducing poverty (SDG 1) and ensuring good health and wellbeing (SDG 3), providing accessible, affordable, safe water, which also contributes to the empowerment of women and girls (SDG 5) and to reducing gender inequality in education (SDG 4), thereby fostering inclusive societies (SDG 16) and reducing inequality (SDG 10). Wastewater treatment is improving the quality of water sources, which protects aquatic and marine ecosystems (SDG 14 and 15). Similarly, there would be no sustainable cities or human settlements (SDG 11) without water services. The water sector is implementing solutions based on climate change adaptation and mitigation measures (SDG 13). It is also seeking to reduce its environmental impacts and promote efficient use of natural resources (SDG 12), including energy.

Gari Villa-Landa,Director of International Affairs at AEAS