GWOPA and Partners in Marseille


The World Water Forum 6

GWOPA didn’t miss the occasion to gather with another 35,000 participants at the 6th World Water Forum in the Mediterranean port town of Marseille, France earlier this month.  With such a big gathering, the triennial forum was a rare occasion to learn and share, and to network with partners, old and new.

The 6th World Water Forum aimed to focus on “Solutions” and its events aimed to elaborate practical tools and approaches for addressing the sector’s most pressing challenges. GWOPA was contributing to two of the “Conditions for Success”: Financing Water for All and Good Governance.  




As part of our work with Global Water Solidarity, the International Platform for the Promotion of Decentralized Solidarity Mechanisms,  GWOPA organized a session entitled, "Enabling Solidarity: scaling-up local financing mechanisms in Asia and the Pacific" to explore the potential and practical approaches for encouraging this approach on a regional level.  


In the session, chaired by Ravi Narayanan, Vice Chair of Asia-Pacific Water Forum Governing Council, utilities in France and the Netherlands described how they are currently making use of legal mechanisms that allow them to apply 1% of their revenue to international cooperation activities.  Some cases of decentralized cooperation were then presented from Mexico, Japan and the Asian Development Bank. Finally, the possibilities and challenges of replicating effective mechanisms in countries of the Asian Pacific region were discussed in a panel discussion.  

The outcomes of the session were presented in the plenary by Bert Diphoorn, Chair of the GWOPA Steering Committee at theAsia and the Pacific Synthesis Session organized by Asia-Pacific Water Forum on 16 March.

In a session entitled “Improving governance and performance of public water and sanitation services” organized by France’s ASTEE, GWOPA’s Anne Bousquet drew from examples to show how Water Operators’ Partnerships were contributing to developing governance capacity, showing how as more time and resources were committed to a WOP, the more likely it was to have an influence on governance factors. Several cases suggest that governance impacts of WOPs range for simply aligning of utilities with existing policies to catalyzing  upstream reforms.

With strong participation by governmental delegations, the Forum also offered a useful opportunity to advance WOPs position on the political agenda. For the first time, Ministers from around the world adopted a ministerial declaration that explicitly highlighted WOPs as an approach that should be attempted.



The I'm a City Changer Campaign is a global movement to share and spread individual, corporate and public initiatives that improve our cities.  


The UN-Habitat booth at the World Water Forum exhibition highlighted the key challenges around water and cities, and featured some City Changers who were working to make a difference. GWOPA collaborated with the World Urban Campaign team of UN-Habitat to prepare and launch the campaign in Marseille.  Some of our partners, including Gerard Rundberg of World WaterNet and  Samir Bensaid of ONEP, Morocco were featured in the expo. 


The Alternative World Water Forum    

Several of GWOPA’s partners also participated in FAME (the forum alternatif mondial de l’eau), which took place in a parallel forum in Marseille during the same period. FAME participants take a firm stance against private control over in water service provision, rather seeking to advance the right of citizens to be more actively involved in sustainable water management.  Naturally, Water Operators’ Partnerships, which seek to strengthen the role and capacity of public service providers and provide an alternative to privatization were embraced at the forum.

More than one hundred people attended the workshop on "Public-public partnerships: strengthening public water and implementing the human right to water", co-hosted by GWOPA Steering Committee Members Reclaiming Public Water Network, the Platform for Public-Community Partnerships in Americas and Public Services International, held on Friday March 16th.  Oscar Olivera, who is implementing partnerships in Cochabamba explained that "this is also an attempt to create a new notion of 'public', in which communities, workers and water operators work closely together". More information about fame is available here.  

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