- Category: Overview
What are WOPs?
Water Operators’ Partnerships – WOPs - are peer-support exchanges between two or more water or sanitation operators, carried out on a not-for-profit basis in the objective of strengthening their capacity. WOPs are being promoted as an effective method of bolstering the ability of public watsan service providers to play their full role in delivering quality basic services to all.
WOPs vary greatly in their objectives, approach and outcomes. Some WOPs are funded entirely by their participating utilities, others require significant support from external partners. What brings all WOPs together is that they are carried out by and for utilities according to a number of guiding principles.
Water Operators Partnerships - Building WOPs for Sustainable Development in Water and Sanitation provides an introduction to WOPs and some examples of practice.
WOPs - A Protected brand
Not-for-profit peer support is not new. WOPs-like initiatives have been carried out for decades under a panopoly of names, including Public Private Partnerships, Public-Public Partnerships, twinning, decentralized cooperation and others. Water Operators Partnerships - WOPs - was the name given to the practice by the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation when it called, in its 2006 Hashimoto Action Plan, for a global scale-up of the approach.
However WOPs is more than just another name for an old practice; it also carries a useful distinction. WOPs, by definition, must be not-for-profit. While some partnerships are defined on the nature of the partnering entities (PPP or PUP), WOPs are distinguished by the nature of the relationship between the parties. Partners in a WOP abide by a code-of-conduct that lays out the ground rules for their interaction. In this way, WOPs provide a meaningful label and safe framework in which an effective peer-support relationship can develop.
The WOPs Charter, which includes both the Guiding Principles for GWOPA, and Code-of-Conduct for partnerships, was developed collaboratively and adopted through consensus by GWOPA's International Steering Committee.