In the framework of the Habitat III preparatory process, GWOPA convened an expert group meeting on the 1st of February in Barcelona to generate recommendations from partners in the water sector. The inputs gathered will feed into the drafting of the new urban agenda that is set to be approved during the Habitat III Conference in October 2016.
The new urban agenda is being prepared through a multi-stage, participatory process and policy units have been created around 10 thematic papers. These units called for recommendations on the papers, and on cross-cutting/overarching issues not specifically addressed under one theme.
Recognizing that cities and water are deeply connected, GWOPA initiated a consultation on ‘waters’ in the new urban agenda in December 2015 (more about the consultation) and the subsequent recommendations were taken forward to the expert group meeting in February. The term ‘waters’ was intentionally adopted to denote the inclusion of water qualities and uses other than piped drinking water.
Given the interplay between water and urbanization, experts convened were challenged to make recommendations that go beyond service provision and take into account the inter-linkage of water and health, social integration, economic drivers, the environment, wastewaters treatment, energy and all other ways that water is fundamental to urban activity.
The contributing experts affirmed the central and cross-cutting role that water should play in the new urban agenda and called for pro-active, integrated and adaptive urban water management approaches to be reflected in the final document.
The sanitation gap and the need for equitable services were, for many, the backbone of the discussions and the group will request that these be addressed in the new agenda. The potential of capacity development initiatives such as peer support between operators (WOPs) were furthermore highlighted as good practice to be recommended.
The Cross-cutting Expert Group Meeting on Waters was composed of Samir Bensaid (ONEE), François Brikké (German Water Partneship), Kevin Chretien (World Water Council), Bert Diphoorn (Human Cities Alliance), Andre Dzikus (UN-Habitat), Faraj El-Awar (GWOPA), Marianne Kjellén (UNDP Water Governance Facility at SIWI), Xavier Leflaive (OECD), Dan Lewis (CRPP), Emanuele Lobina (PSIRU, University of Greenwich), Hilmar von Lojewski (Association of German Cities; co-leader of Habitat III PU9), Daniel Moss (Independent), Bruno Nguyen (UNESCO-IHP), Julie Perkins (GWOPA), Pablo Sanchez (City of Barcelona), Corinne Trommsdorff (IWA), Timeyin Uwejamomere (Water Aid), Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy (IWMI), with the support of Anne Bousquet, Kristin Heske, Jose-Luis Martin-Bordes, and Vincent Merme Darrigrand from the GWOPA Secretariat.
In addition to the organizations listed above, this contribution also builds on inputs received through the Waters in the New Urban Agenda consultation from Aqua Publica Europea, TNI, PSIRU, PSI, Municipal Services Project, UN-Habitat Urban Basic Services Branch, the Asociación Española de Abastecimientos de Agua y Saneamiento and Jose Porro (Independent).