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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Water Justice Fund

Simavi (
Non-governmental organization (NGO)

    The Water Justice Fund is a climate adaptation fund which supports last mile women- and girls to realise locally-led and women-owned solutions to the water crisis and climate challenges. Aligned to the principles of Locally Led Adaptation, the Water Justice Funds aims to realise systemic change whereby groups most affected by climate change, get agency and resources to take those measures they believe are the best for their context. 

    The existing and future challenges in the field of water require innovative and transformative ideas. Adaptation actions do not automatically have positive outcomes for gender equality. Efforts are needed to change unequal power dynamics and to foster inclusive decision-making for climate adaptation to have a positive impact for gender equality.

    With the Water Justice Fund, Simavi and partners want to support locally-led climate actions that protect water sources, strengthen Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), or lead to more equitable water access in contexts of (acute and anticipated) scarcity. By focusing on gender justice, the fund aims to support and create more opportunities for feminist leadership in climate adaptation.

    The Water Justice Fund, initiated by CSOs from Global South and North sets out to achieve five key outcomes:  

    1. Catalyze and advance localized gender just climate financing – increasing the flows of resources to the local level;  
    2. Strengthen household and community level climate resilience, including the promotion of Human Rights to Water and Sanitation (HRWS);  
    3. Strengthen the durability of grassroot organizing and in particular the organizing of women and girls for greater voice, participation, influence and agency, networks, and movement building;  
    4. Promote gender equality and transformation by seeking to actively identify and remove the discriminatory barriers that women and girls face in accessing resources and decision-making;  
    5. Fill knowledge and evidence gaps of strategic stakeholders in order to influence policy and programming related to locally-led adaptation actions of rural women and girls. 

    Expected Impact

    Climate change is expected to further intensify water-related challenges and widen existing inequities in water access. In nearly all regions in the world women and children are disproportionately responsible for securing water and food for their households, leaving them particularly vulnerable when water becomes scarce or insecure. Water is essential to the economic and social position of women – where durable access to water can bring a cascade of positive effects on women’s economic and social lives, as well as on their health and that of their families and communities (1). Despite this, less than 1% of the billions pledged (2) to address climate change go towards supporting water services for poor communities (3). Lack of gender responsive and durable climate funding for local civil society organizations further reinforces the exclusion of women and other marginalized groups in decision-making and climate action (4), leaving existing global and local systems of inequalities largely intact. It is the force of the climate’s impact on women, combined with existing poor water and sanitation services, that is at the core of the Water Justice Fund.  

    The Water Justice Fund supports the UN Action Agenda and the SDG 6 Acceleration Framework and aims to accelerate progress in the following ways:   

    - Locally led- Adaptation Principles: The fund strengthens local organizing on the nexus of WASH, climate adaptation and gender equality. At the local level there are no sectoral divides or boundaries – water, sanitation, hygiene and climate must be approached holistically in order to have concrete impacts on the lives of women and girls experiencing water insecurity.  

    - The Water Crisis fundamentally affects women. Durable access to water will bring a cascade of benefits to the social and economic position of women. The fund creates spaces and opportunities for leadership of women and girls in water and climate solutions. Inclusive and sustainable WASH access is a prerequisite to meeting the global goals related to gender equality (SDG 5) and climate action (SDG 13).  

    - Mobilising grassroot networks to influence decision making and strengthening accountability to realise SDG 6. The Water Justice Fund supports grassroot climate and water activists globally to make sure policies and practices are inclusive, and financial investments leave no one behind.


    Simavi, and Women Win, Uttaran, Neighbours Initiatives Alliance (NIA), Sahakarmi Samaj

    Goal 5

    Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

    Goal 5


    End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere


    Whether or not legal frameworks are in place to promote, enforce and monitor equality and non‑discrimination on the basis of sex


    Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation

    Proportion of ever-partnered women and girls aged 15 years and older subjected to physical, sexual or psychological violence by a current or former intimate partner in the previous 12 months, by form of violence and by age


    Proportion of women and girls aged 15 years and older subjected to sexual violence by persons other than an intimate partner in the previous 12 months, by age and place of occurrence


    Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation

    Proportion of women aged 20-24 years who were married or in a union before age 15 and before age 18


    Proportion of girls and women aged 15-49 years who have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting, by age


    Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate


    Proportion of time spent on unpaid domestic and care work, by sex, age and location


    Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life


    Proportion of seats held by women in (a) national parliaments and (b) local governments


    Proportion of women in managerial positions


    Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences


    Proportion of women aged 15-49 years who make their own informed decisions regarding sexual relations, contraceptive use and reproductive health care


    Number of countries with laws and regulations that guarantee full and equal access to women and men aged 15 years and older to sexual and reproductive health care, information and education


    Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws


    (a) Proportion of total agricultural population with ownership or secure rights over agricultural land, by sex; and (b) share of women among owners or rights-bearers of agricultural land, by type of tenure


    Proportion of countries where the legal framework (including customary law) guarantees women’s equal rights to land ownership and/or control


    Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women

    Proportion of individuals who own a mobile telephone, by sex


    Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels


    Proportion of countries with systems to track and make public allocations for gender equality and women’s empowerment

    Goal 6

    Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

    Goal 6


    By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all


    Proportion of population using safely managed drinking water services


    By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations


    Proportion of population using (a) safely managed sanitation services and (b) a hand-washing facility with soap and water


    By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally


    Proportion of domestic and industrial wastewater flows safely treated


    Proportion of bodies of water with good ambient water quality


    By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity

    Change in water-use efficiency over time


    Level of water stress: freshwater withdrawal as a proportion of available freshwater resources


    By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate


    Degree of integrated water resources management 


    Proportion of transboundary basin area with an operational arrangement for water cooperation


    By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes

    Change in the extent of water-related ecosystems over time


    By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies

    Amount of water- and sanitation-related official development assistance that is part of a government-coordinated spending plan


    Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management


    Proportion of local administrative units with established and operational policies and procedures for participation of local communities in water and sanitation management

    Goal 13

    Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

    Goal 13


    Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries


    Number of deaths, missing persons and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population


    Number of countries that adopt and implement national disaster risk reduction strategies in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030


    Proportion of local governments that adopt and implement local disaster risk reduction strategies in line with national disaster risk reduction strategies


    Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning


    Number of countries with nationally determined contributions, long-term strategies, national adaptation plans and adaptation communications, as reported to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change


    Total greenhouse gas emissions per year


    Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning


    Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development are mainstreamed in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) teacher education; and (d) student assessment


    Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible


    Amounts provided and mobilized in United States dollars per year in relation to the continued existing collective mobilization goal of the $100 billion commitment through to 2025


    Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities



    Number of least developed countries and small island developing States with nationally determined contributions, long-term strategies, national adaptation plans and adaptation communications, as reported to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

    Name Description
    Support at least 100 grassroot initiatives and groups with small grants to reduce water and climate vulnerabilities of rural and remote communities and support locally led climate and water activists.
    Increased climate change adaptation measures and global movement building taken by at least 100 grassroots initiatives.
    Expand the initiatives globally and work towards a replicable model that the increase acceleration of locally led adaptation and supports realisation of SDG 6, 5 and 13.
    Publish evaluation findings, including the assessment of impact on the water security and climate resilience of participating groups and communities. 
    Other, please specify
    FINANCING/ STAFF / IN-KIND CONTRIBUTIONS: Secured financial commitment of 825k Euro (2022-2024) in grant funding
    Other, please specify
    FINANCING/ STAFF / IN-KIND CONTRIBUTIONS: 6 FTEs dedicated to fund across all partners organizations (2022-2024)
    No progress reports have been submitted. Please sign in and click here to submit one.
    Action Network
    water logo
    01 February 2023 (start date)
    31 December 2030 (date of completion)
    1. Africa
    2. Asia and Pacific
    3. Global
    Other beneficiaries

    The Fund provides resources to national civil society organizations (CSOs) and to women and adolescent girls groups at the grassroots, including women’s rights organizations (WROs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs). 

    Contact Information

    Veerle, Director Fundraising & Engagement