Monday, 30 June 2014 02:00

Latin America Water Week: Mexico 2015

GWOPA joins partners from Latin America to show commitment to water and sanitation.

GWOPA/UN-Habitat attend the Latin America Water Week hosted by the CONAGUA (National Water Commission) of Mexico, ANEAS (National Association of Water and Sanitation in Mexico and member of GWOPA Steering Committee), and IMTA (Mexican Institute of Water Technology) on 23-27 June 2014 in Mexico City. The week was organized as a regional preparatory process towards the 7th World Water Forum in May 2015 in Korea and convened around 200 international and national participants representing national and local Governments, water and sanitation utilities, NGOs and international/intergovernmental organizations.

On June 23, UN-Habitat represented by Bert Diphoorn participated in the session on "Water for Development and Prosperity" and presented on water and urbanization as one of the most urgent topics to be addressed by the water sector. Other presentations were made by speakers from several different sectors, such as irrigation and energy. Mr Diphoorn stressed the importance of bridging the gap between water and urban sectors to address the water issues caused or increased by urbanization. Water Operators’ Partnerships (WOPs) were introduced as an useful mechanism to capacity building of water and sanitation utilities, which play a core role in expanding water and sanitation service provision in the cities. The session was followed by the Special Speech “Governance and Water Security” of Dr. José Ángel Gurría, Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

GWOPA attended the ANEAS's Board Meeting taking place on the 2nd day as partner to present the concept of WOPs and its global and regional WOPs activities. Support was provided by a representative of WOP-LAC (from COSaYSa, Argentina) who equally advocated for WOPs amongst the management of the ANEAS member utilities. COSaYSa presented its ongoing WOP with CAESB of Brazil and explained how this WOP helped motivate its staff members. Discussions also highlighted why this WOP is different from the simple exchange visits they frequently conduct with the utilities under the similar condition and situation. Following this special WOP session, the GWOPA Secretariat, WOP-LAC and ANEAS discussed how to facilitate more WOPs in Mexico through the partnership of these three platforms. One concrete activity identified through this discussion was to organize a WOP event during the ANEAS annual convention in November. The idea is to bring the results of this WOP event to the 4th ALOAS (Asociación Latinoamericana de Operadores de Agua y Saneamiento) Meeting taking place 2 weeks after the ANEAS convention.

In Mexico City, the Board of Governors Meeting of the World Water Council was organized and UN-Habitat attended. The most important topic of this session of the Board gathering was the preparation of the 7th World Water Forum. UN-Habitat presented the progress of the local and regional authorities dialogue, one of the components of the political process towards the 7th World Water Forum at the meeting. The presentation focussed on the follow up of the Istanbul Water Consensus led by the World Water Council Secretariat and the dialogue between local authorities and water and sanitation utilities proposed and led by the GWOPA/UN-Habitat. The next board meeting will take place in Marseille in November this year.

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