GWOPA celebrated a decade of bringing operators together to help one another at its 11th annual International Steering Committee meeting last Wednesday in Madrid. Representatives from all regions and sectors of the alliance were present at this annual gathering to provide UN-Habitat with guidance for supporting GWOPA’s work.
The Alliance was founded in 2009 after the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) recommended such a mechanism to help the world’s public water utilities improve and extend access to water and sanitation services. Ten years on, Water Operators’ Partnerships - a unique partnering approach in which strong utilities help their peers on a not-for-profit basis – have expanded significantly, with over 320 partnerships on record and a growing number of countries, development banks and other development organizations adopting the approach.
UN-Habitat’s Executive Director, who is also Chair of the Committee, congratulated the Alliance for its decade of achievements and thanked the Government of Spain, City of Barcelona, the Government of Netherlands (DGIS), OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Energy of Abu Dhabi for their financial support to this collective effort to strengthen utilities’ capacity to deliver safe essential services to all and help achieve the SDGs.
A key decision at the meeting was to open a competitive bid for Hosting the GWOPA Secretariat for a further 5-year period in order to implement the GWOPA 2019- 2023 Strategic Plan. A call for Expressions of Interest to host this UN office will be opened to all UN member states in the coming months. Furthermore, the Committee members welcomed the endorsement of GWOPA’s new 5-year strategy with view to ensuring that, 1. WOPs are scaled up and 2. WOPs are effectively supporting operator capacity to realize the SDGs to the benefit of all. To bolster this strategic transition, ISC members agreed that a GWOPA Governance Task Force will be established to oversee the review and revision of the GWOPA Charter.