Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero
today said clean water is a crucial ingredient for sustainable progress.
At the Museum of Women in the Arts, Ms. Otero expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to visit the beautiful museum in an occasion highlighting the role of women in water issues.
“This museum honors history’s great female artists. The work that hangs on these walls is a testament to the vision, creativity, and perseverance of women who have broken the mold, pushing the art world to new limits.”-Ms. Otero
Ms. Otero highlighted the women’s role as the mother, daughter, sister and even grandmother. She said the women is first to raise her hand, stand up, make the long walk, or pass on vital information to the next generation.
“She is the volunteer, the caregiver, the teacher, and the leader. And she needs our help.”-Ms. Otero
According to Ms. Otero, on World Water Day 2011, Secretary Clinton and World Bank President Robert Zoellick signed an unprecedented MOU, connecting almost 20 US government agencies and multiple assets of the Bank. The MOU will allow the United States to share knowledge and expertise at the national and local levels.
“One cannot address the many water challenges we face throughout the world without first understanding the impact of those challenges on women-and subsequently their role in solving them.”-Ms. Otero
Ms. Otero noted the United States made women’s issues a crucial part of every major initiative set forth in the Obama Administration. It is particularly central to the big three which are climate change, global health and food security.
According to Ms. Otero, women and girls in developing countries walk an average of 6 kilometers a day (3.75 miles) carrying 20 liters (or 42 pounds) of water around the world. The places are often in isolated, unsafe areas, putting them in harm’s way.
Ms. Otero pointed out, the journey takes more than 15 hours a week, making it difficult for girls to go to school. She explained less education means fewer economic opportunities for women, which in turn hurts the local economy. She said the cycle continues.
“Whether we are talking about climate change, food security, global health, we know this: clean water is a crucial ingredient for sustainable progress.”Ms. Otero
Ms. Otero underscored it is the women who are on the front lines of these fragile environments. She said they are the first victims-but they are also the first responders.
“When provided with appropriate training and resources, women have enormous potential to devise and implement solutions to address these threats.”-Ms. Otero
Ms. Otero concluded that the key to address the issue is for everyone to work towards creating the conditions in which women can move from their status as potential victims of water challenges and transform to becoming agents of change.