Nairobi, Kenya – 10th June 2019. Water and Sanitation Utilities have a critical role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Water and sanitation operators help deliver on basic Human Rights in cities providing services that are fundamental to inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities where no one is left behind to achieve the SDGs as well as the New Urban Agenda. Many of the thousands of local water and sanitation operators worldwide need help.
Despite different contexts, water utilities around the world have much in common, and therefore much to share, with one another. Through Water Operators’ Partnerships (WOPs), peer utilities help one another on a not-for-profit basis, to learn, develop and improve their performance. WOPs help strengthen water and sanitation operators ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (SDG 6), contributing to SDG 6 targets on inclusive access to services, water quality, water use efficiency, integrated management and conservation, capacity development and community engagement.
The Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA) is the global hub for WOPs: advocating, building knowledge and convening diverse water and urban stakeholders – governments, financial partners, development organizations, private utilities, civil society and labour unions - together to help utilities help each other. The GWOPA Secretariat is managed by UN-Habitat and guided by a multi-stakeholder International Steering Committee, chaired by UN-Habitat’s Executive Director.
In support of the New Urban Agenda, GWOPA helps participating countries to commit “to equipping public water and sanitation utilities with the capacity to implement sustainable water management systems” (paragraph 120) and recognize the need for sustainable and inclusive water and sanitation services.
In the 10 years since it was founded, GWOPA has catalyzed a flourishing global Water Operators’ Partnerships practice, with over 300 WOPs on record around the world enhancing capacity for improved services, and a network of regional and national platforms and programmes implementing them. The WOPs practice is growing steadily with new utility associations, development banks and governments around the world adopting the practice at scale.
Hosting Call for the GWOPA Secretariat
Today, as a growing number of cities face severe water stress, strong utilities are more important than ever. Recognizing the continued importance of the Water Operators Partnerships practice, UN-Habitat has opened a hosting call for the global Secretariat of GWOPA, to continue refining and scaling up the approach to help more local water and sanitation service providers globally provide sustainable services to all. This programme, currently based in Barcelona, Spain, since 2013 thanks to the support of the Government of Spain, embraces the strategic objective of the agency “to advance sustainable urbanization as a driver of development and peace, to improve living conditions for all.”
The hosting call is open to any UN Member State or public entity endorsed by its national government. A joint proposal by more than one country may also be considered.
For further information, please see the hosting call.