Since the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board first mentioned WOPs in its Hashimoto Action Plan, the approach has been rooted in a number of key principles. Upon the establishment of the Global WOPs Alliance, these principles were articulated in its Charter, specifically in its Guiding Principles which guide the running of GWOPA itself and the Code-of-Conduct which provides ground rules for individual partnerships, and adopted by the Steering Committee. These underlying values have become defining features of WOPs and are among the reasons that implementers and donors are supporting this form of operator capacity development.
The Importance of Integrity
It is in the interest of all WOPs partners and GWOPA members to ensure that WOPs principles are upheld. Defending the integrity of the WOPs approach is important because:
- Experience shows that WOPs are most effective in relationships of trust. A defended code-ofconduct provides a safe ground in which more effective capacity development can happen.
- Utilities will more readily engage in partnerships with clear ground rules. The explicit principles can also help establish buy-in from other key supporters.
- The code-of-conduct provides a framework in which public and private operators can confidently engage in not-for-profit partnership.
- WOPs ‘product recognition’ rests on its not-for-profit nature. Donors and other supporters may be more likely to commit to WOPs when they understand and trust that it is distinguished from other partnership types.
- Partners can use the WOPs label to show that they are engaging in a recognized and meaningful corporate social responsibility endeavor.
- As the name gains in meaning and respectability, more WOPs supporters will be encouraged to participate.
The GWOPA secretariat currently helps to ensure the code-of-conduct is adopted and applied by:
- Promoting awareness about and use of the GWOPA Code-of-Conduct by all regional platforms
- Requiring application of code-of-conduct in all GWOPA funded activities and encouraging the same of the regional platforms.
- Ensuring inclusiveness on its Steering Committee.
- Creating an open online database of WOPs profiles.
- Producing guidelines for increasing transparency and accountability in the implementation of WOPs (in preparation).
The GWOPA secretariat is nevertheless limited in its capacity to maintain a comprehensive global overview on WOPs activities and to give integrity its due time and consideration. An Integrity Sub-
Committee was devised to support GWOPA in its ongoing efforts to ensure the application of its guiding principles.
The decision to establish an Integrity Sub-Committee was made at GWOPA’s 2nd Steering Committee Meeting (August 2009, Stockholm). Its role is to help GWOPA secretariat uphold the core values integral to WOPs in order to protect the WOPs name, so that it can continue to serve as a safe and respectable partnership forum.