The Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance aims to build the capacity of water utilities through not-for-profit peer-to-peer partnerships. The Alliance, an initiative led by UN-Habitat, held its 10th International Steering Committee meeting on Wednesday 9th May at UN-Habitat headquarters in Nairobi.
UN-Habitat’s new Executive Director, Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, who was serving for the first time in her role as GWOPA ISC Chair, expressed her clear support for the initiative. “This global network is very important for the people from the ground” she said, noting that GWOPA was unique in bringing together water and sanitation utilities and their partners on a solidarity basis. Collectively, utilities serve a large percentage of the global population with essential services. Building their capacity to provide better services not only contributes directly to water-related global targets of SDG6 and ambitions set out in the New Urban Agenda, but is also a pre-requisite for achieving other development objectives related to health, education, the environment, resilience, among others.
GWOPA’s International Committee advises on the strategic direction of the Alliance. Its members represent an inclusive spectrum of the water sector stakeholders including: public operators, development partners, civil society organizations, labour unions and private operators. Regional WOPs platforms from Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa, and national WOPs platforms from Indonesia and Pakistan also participated in the ISC meeting.
In the meeting, Committee members welcomed the encouraging results of the Evaluation on the implementation of the GWOPA’s 2013-2017 strategy, and gave direction for the development of a new 5-year strategy that would strengthen the Alliance’s work in, “connecting water utilities in solidarity for sustainability.” The WOPs model (not-for-profit peer partnerships) has proven its effectiveness and stands to play a much bigger role in helping water utilities face up to shared challenges like dwindling water resources, disaster risk reduction and growing informal settlements and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda agreed by the United Nations. The UN-Habitat Executive Director noted that the meeting was timely as it created the opportunity to build synergies with the strategy that UN-Habitat is developing for the next 6 years and the wider UN reform process.