Simavi hands over more than 16,000 signatures to MP's: 'Don't let women bear the brunt of the water crisis'

Article: 28.03.23, Nederland, Karin Bojorge-Alvarez

Dutch foreign trade policy should not result in women and girls becoming the victims of the increasing competition for drinking water. To put pressure on the Dutch government, development organisation Simavi organised a petition. Today, 16,845 signatures by Dutch citizens were handed over to the Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Committee of the Lower House.

Stieneke van der Graaf (ChristenUnie), Jan Klink (VVD) and Jorien Wuite (D66) from the Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Committee of the Lower House accept the signatures. Photo by Jeroen Poortvliet

'Women and girls are responsible for fetching water in 8 out of 10 with water off premises. Due to the climate crisis, water problems are increasing worldwide. This not only increases gender inequality, but also makes women especially vulnerable to violence or sextortion, being pressured into sex in exchange for water,' Esin Erdoğan, policy and advocacy officer at Simavi explained.

Water-check on foreign activities

The Dutch government should therefore make water justice an important pillar of international climate policy, says Erdoğan of Simavi. 'There is a lot of new policy coming up in the field of trade between the Netherlands and low-income countries and politicians must ensure that this does not endanger the water supply in those countries. This can be done by applying a water-check to Dutch activities abroad, so that they at least do not have a negative impact on the quality or quantity of drinking water available to vulnerable communities.'

Campaigner Sabine Brusse handing over the petition together with Veerle Ver Loren van Themaat and Esin Erdoğan from Simavi.

Delivering on the promise of Locally Led Adaptation

Simavi also wants the money that the Dutch government spends on climate finance to be maximally focused on the needs and capacities of women and girls in the most vulnerable communities. 'The Netherlands has committed to the Locally Led Adaptation principles and must deliver on this promise,' Erdoğan argues.

Not just focusing on quick profits

An equitable approach also means that in the search for 'promising markets', the Dutch government should not only focus on quick profits. 'We ask the Lower House to ensure that the rights of women and girls to water and sanitation are properly embedded in the government's International Climate Strategy.'

Fighting for climate and water justice

Now the petition is handed over, we keep on fighting for climate justice for women and girls. For instance with the Water Justice Fund, which we recently launched together with Women Win. Water Justice Fund puts women and girls at the forefront of climate action. 

Read more about the introduction of the Water Justice Fund via the button below. 

Esther Oeganda

Everbody has the human right to safe water and sanitation.

Take action