NWP member Simavi launched the Water Wake-Up Call on World Water Day 2022 to draw attention to the catastrophic water crisis that threatens the lives and future of millions of people worldwide. In this piece, Brechje Oonk, Public Affairs Officer at Simavi, presents the objectives behind the Water Wake-up Call to the NWP community.
“Simavi’s work in Africa and Asia has shown us how the water crisis is hitting women and girls in these continents the hardest. Millions of women and girls, who provide safe drinking water for their families, are forced to walk further and further for safe drinking water. Because of this, they are more likely to miss school, have no time to work, and increasingly face violence. But while they carry the brunt of the burden, they are excluded from decision-making, where they could make a real difference,” says Oonk.
Launching a new campaign
It has long been Simavi's mission to fight for equality and overcome barriers for women and girls to claim their human rights to water and sanitation. Simavi's projects focus on the rights to water and sanitation for women and girls in Africa and Asia and have a strong emphasis on feminist leadership, social justice and climate justice.
In its new campaign, Simavi is now reaching out to the Dutch Government to commit to supporting women and girls in the water crisis. Three and a half billion people are already highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and half of the world's population faces severe water shortages at some point every year. “They are the reason we must act now,” says Oonk.
The Water Wake-Up Call seeks firm commitments from the Dutch Government. The main ideas behind the call are the following.
The water crisis should be a focal point and should thus be one of the main issues to add to the political agenda.
The power of local communities should be used. Simavi believes that greater focus on local communities in Africa and Asia is needed. “We need to learn from their solutions and provide them a platform and support to create sustainable change,” says Oonk.
The fulfilment of the financial promises. “Those responsible for the climate crisis must face its consequences. The Netherlands must provide its fair share of EUR 1.56 billion to climate finance and should double its climate adaptation funding to help those in need,” adds Oonk.
Bringing the campaign to life
The next few months will be crucial for a new direction in the Dutch climate approach and the water crisis. The Netherlands has an exemplary role to play, especially since there will be a Climate Summit in Egypt in November 2022 and the Netherlands will host the UN water conference in March 2023.
On 13 April, Simavi hosted its first Water Cocktail Bar, which it used to approach politicians and inform them about the water crisis and about what they can and should do to protect the human right to water and sanitation for millions of people. The intention is that the mobile Water Cocktail Bar will be available at several festivals in the Netherlands.
The next planned action supporting the Water Wake-Up Call is on 19 June during the Climate March in Rotterdam.
Learn more about Simavi’s Wake up Call campaign on its website.
Policy memorandum in the making
The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Liesje Schreinemacher, is currently developing a new policy memorandum in the field of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. In addition to the main points of the coalition agreement and current developments, she was keen to get ideas from civil society, think tanks, researchers and the business community through an online consultation (in Dutch) that ended on 15 April. The new policy memorandum will be issued in June.
Besides participating in the consultation, Simavi was invited to speak (in Dutch) with Minister Schreinemacher at a recent round table about its ideas on gender equality, the climate crisis and the important role of innovative financing mechanisms.