The Middle East and North Africa region has always coped with water scarcity. The world’s oldest civilizations have managed to develop and prosper in its arid landscapes. Today the region is at a crossroads. Conflict is taking a severe human and economic toll, fueling massive displacements of populations. What water remains available is dwindling, under pressure from rapid population growth and urbanization combined with climate change. Existing water management systems, already plagued by weak governance, limited resources, and degraded infrastructure, are now failing when they are needed the most. Women and children are especially affected by the repercussions of water shortage and mismanagement. Within households, failure of network supply might increase the burden on women who remain largely responsible for domestic water supplies and family health issues.
This paper is part of an ongoing collaboration between the World Bank and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization to raise awareness about the importance of water management in fragile systems and to propose strategic responses. It also explains why women must be included in decisions on natural resources.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.