Women in Water Diplomacy

The Women in Water Diplomacy Network in the Nile works to elevate women’s leadership in high-level decision-making in transboundary waters. The Network is a project of the global Shared Waters Partnership programme which supports transboundary water cooperation in conflict sensitive basins. Gender equality is an essential aspect of transboundary water cooperation as research shows that women’s participation in peace processes is positively associated with more durable peace.

The Women in Water Diplomacy Network in the Nile promotes women’s participation in high-level water diplomacy processes. Through the Network, members can share experiences and lessons learned.

Since its launch in 2017, the Women in Water Diplomacy Network in the Nile has contributed to building trust and an enabling environment for cooperation. The Network engages senior and mid-career women professionals from Ministries of Water and Ministries of Foreign Affairs, as well as other relevant line ministries from across the Nile Basin.

Since its establishment, the Network has hosted annual workshops in 2017 (in Uganda), 2019 (in Ethiopia) and 2020 (in Kenya), as well as regular online learning activities. In 2019, the Network released a key summary publication ‘Tapping our Potential,’ and in 2020 a Network Joint Statement was issued in support of inclusive water governance.

The initiative has been met with significant interest for its innovative approach. In turn, it draws inspiration from Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy and the Nordic Women Mediators Network.

Women’s participation at all scales of peacebuilding and conflict resolution processes is essential for the development and sustainability of agreements – including transboundary water-related agreements and water diplomacy processes.

The Women in Water Diplomacy Network in the Nile is an ongoing project of SIWI’s Shared Waters Partnership.


The overarching goals of the Network are to:

  • Enhance women’s leadership in peace and security processes in the Nile Basin;
  • Enhance regional dialogues around the shared waters in the Nile with positive implications for regional peace and security;
  • Increase the number of women engaging in high level basin negotiation processes;
  • Strengthen political dialogues and willingness to cooperate among women water leaders in the Nile Basin states.
The Women in Water Diplomacy Network in the Nile members are representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Water and other related line ministries from the Nile Basin states.

Ambassador Nadia Gefoun shared her experiences from the Network at an online session during the e-conference ‘(En)Gendering Transboundary Water Governance: Feminist Perspectives on Water Conflict and Cooperation in September 2020:

Power is taken, not given. You must not sit and wait for people to come and give you something, you have to fight for it!”

 Ambassador Nadia Gefoun, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sudan


Meet the Members

Learn more about the members of the Women in Water Diplomacy Network in the Nile:  Members Biographies

Women in Water Diplomacy Workshops

The Women in the Water Diplomacy Network in the Nile is part of the Shared Waters Partnership, SIWI’s flagship programme supporting transboundary cooperation. The Network is also supported through a partnership with the Environmental Law Institute.

Policy Brief | Tapping our Potential

In this policy brief we learn about research that demonstrates the transformative role of women in conflict prevention and peacebuilding, including research showing that gender-inclusive peace processes are 35 per cent more likely to last at least 15 years, that peace agreements signed by women are positively associated with more durable peace, and that higher levels of gender equity are associated with a lower instance of conflict.

Download Policy Brief

Study | Women’s Participation in Peace Negotiations and the Durability of Peace

There is an emerging consensus that women’s participation in peace negotiations contributes to the quality and durability of peace after civil war. However, to date, this proposition has remained empirically untested. This study’s’ findings support the assumption that women’s participation in peace negotiations increases the durability and the quality of peace. 

Download PDF

Network Joint Statement

In 2020 the Network issued a Joint Statement in support of inclusive water governance. The aim was to complement the official negotiation processes in the Nile at a critical juncture, and to bring new voices and perspectives into the regional dialogue.

Download Statement

Women in Water Diplomacy Network in the Nile Newsletter

In 2020 the Network launched the Women in Water Diplomacy Newsletter providing updates and highlights from Network engagements geared towards Members and Network supporters.

Archive 2021 | March

Archive 2020 | August

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Shared Waters Partnership

The Women in Water Diplomacy Network in the Nile is an ongoing project of SIWI’s Shared Waters Partnership (SWP), a global multi-donor programme designed to improve cooperation over shared waters in regions where water is, or may become, a source of conflict or where water can serve as a catalyst for peace and stability. To learn more about how SWP supports stakeholders (governments, regional organizations, civil society, media, academia etc.) to engage in processes to strengthen cooperative transboundary water management practices, read more here: Shared Waters Partnership.

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