Representatives from the regional platforms in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and Africa were present as well as the Pakistan national platform. GWOPA Secretariat and BEWOP team also participated in this session entitled, "Making the most of the Global Alliance", that aimed to seek new synergies in global WOPs promotion and implementation.
Faraj El-Awar, Programme Manager of GWOPA, set the scene by recalling the history of the WOPs movement and invited the platforms to tell their story. This introduction provided a photograph of how the Alliance has grown, where it is today and the essential role of the platforms. The diversity of the platforms in terms of size, activity and strategy was revealed, however this diversity was considered by participants as one of the Alliance's strengths as it allowed for adaptation to regional contexts.
Similarities in the implementation of WOPs (procedures, average costs, donors) were common to many platforms however a number of differences were also underlined, most notably regarding how the secretariats of the platforms are supported financially. Many platforms rely heavily on one or two donors and when these parties withdraw, the activity of the platform can be compromised. A number of platforms are therefore looking at innovative ways to cover their running cost in order to continue implementing WOPs. Specific challenges were identified in Asia, in particular the language barrier that can be an obstacle to implementing partnerships between countries.
As the first exclusively regional session, it is hoped that this meeting will result in greater collaboration between the regions. Feedback from participants was positive and it was agreed that this meeting should become systematized.