Mainstreaming Gender in Transboundary Water Management in SADC Region

Economies are more resilient, productive and inclusive when gender inequalities are reduced and the equal participation of women and men is actively supported. Participation in water resources management is not only a means for women and men to secure livelihood, but it also enables the exercise of agency, maintenance of dignity, building of social capital, and increased empowerment. It is increasingly recognized that gender equality is “smart economics”.

Member States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) agree that gender mainstreaming has become a key driver of sustainable development in the region. In fact, gender mainstreaming is no longer restricted to just a few sectors of government, but has spread its wings across all ministries be it in agriculture, tourism, water resources and energy, among others.

In order to buttress the benefits already gained, Member States and River Basin Organizations have moved a step further in advancing the participation of men and women in development as indicated in the existing gender protocols in SADC. The SADC Protocol on Gender and Development is one of such instruments at regional level that has several provisions for promoting gender mainstreaming in all institutions and systems for the achievement of gender equality and equity.

One of the areas that has seen progress as a result of gender mainstreaming is the management of transboundary water resources in the SADC region. Despite the fact that gender mainstreaming has brought significant benefits in transboundary water management, the dissemination of such success stories has remained low.

This publication marks the frst step towards documenting the evidence of Mainstreaming Gender in Transboundary Water Management in SADC. The report highlights the unique experiences of both men and women in management of transboundary water including the decision-making processes. The case studies provided in this report should advance participation in transboundary water management in SADC through shared experience as more communities across boundaries begin to learn from success stories taking place in other communities.

The report is also expected to build and strengthen collaboration between policy makers and communities in promoting sustainable utilisation of transboundary water for the benefit of all stakeholders. The evidence contained in this report, and the opportunities, challenges and lessons provided, should inspire stakeholders in southern Africa, and elsewhere in Africa, to get more involved in action to manage their water resources.

SARDC’s institutes for environment and for gender – the I Musokotwane Environment Resource Centre for Southern Africa (IMERCSA) and Beyond Inequalities (BI) Gender Institute – are pleased to present this publication on gender mainstreaming in transboundary water management in SADC.
Year of Publication
SARDC Publishing
ISBN Number
978 1 77906 682 4