Mainstreaming Gender in Flood Forecasting and Integrated Flood Management

A webinar on Mainstreaming Gender into End-2-End-Early Warning System (EWS) for Flood Forecasting and Integrated Flood Management (IFM) was jointly organized by WMO, the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and Water Youth Network (WYN) on 8 March to mark International Women’s Day 2022. A panel of experts on gender mainstreaming and advocacy discussed the related issues, needs and vulnerabilities in view of the outcomes of earlier workshops on the same theme in the Volta Basin countries. The 79 participants from around the world left the event equipped with tools and methods for mainstreaming gender into end-to-end EWS for flood forecasting and into integrated flood management

WMO Deputy Secretary-General, Elena Manaenkova outlined the WMO Gender Equality Policy and Gender Action Plan, which targets leadership training, creates awareness raising campaigns and develops strategies and approaches to make weather, hydrological and climate services more gender sensitive.

Under the Gender Action Plan, more than 200 national and local stakeholders from the Volta Basin countries in West Africa participated in the eight training workshops organized between June – October 2021. The workshops were integrated into the Volta Basin Flood and Drought Management (VFDM) project, funded by the Adaptation Fund. The joint WMO/GWP Associated Programme on Flood Management (APFM) developed a generic gender mainstreaming training manual and facilitator’s guide which was tested in the Volta Basin workshops. The manual aims to enhance National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) capabilities to include gender sensitive approaches in these two areas as well as in disaster management and for improving last mile communication and response.

Hwirin Kim, Head, WMO Hydrology and Water Resources Services, highlighted the success of the Volta Basin workshops and noted that the possible next steps would be to use the manual for training in South-East Asia and Caribbean in other WMO projects or initiatives. In the meanwhile, the manual would be further refined to incorporate experiences, lesson learned and success stories that would benefit Members in their mainstreaming activities. She noted the three main recommendations from the Volta Basin workshops:

  • Gender issues need to be included in flood risk prevention, preparedness and management activities,
  • Workshop participants should serve as gender ambassadors in their day-to-day operational work and by promoting the inclusion of gender dimensions in the services provided by their organization
  • Development activities should comply with laws and policies on gender integration.

Constance Awinpoka Akurugu, Gender specialist a SD Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies in Ghana, informed the audience that “Mainstreaming gender into end-to-end EWS for flood forecasting and integrated flood management is fundamental to flood risks prevention and management. As a result of the differences in roles normatively assigned to women and men, they often experience the effects of flood differently. Gender mainstreaming ensures that the experiences, interests and concerns of differently positioned women and men, youth, aged, disabled and poor are integrated into early warning systems for flood risk management. It enables the inclusion of all, leaving no one behind. In Ghana, it is an important step towards empowering women with timely information on flood forecasting, preparing for disaster and coping with its consequences as well as building resilience.”

Sustainable, people-centred flood risk management is only possible when gender perspectives are identified and addressed as integral elements of all areas of flood forecasting early warning services and integrated flood management. Priority should therefore be given to addressing gender mainstreaming challenges and to ensuring that adequate tools, expertise and financial resources are allocated from local to national levels.

Share this page