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18-29 October 2021 online
Accelerate the scaling up of effective peer-to-peer partnerships between Water Operators worldwide

Learning from each other, sharing experiences, and inspiring action is a critical way for water and sanitation operators to improve their services and enrich the lives of the people they serve.

Collaboration and solidarity are at the heart of the Global WOPs Congress and the event seeks to be inclusive and fair in its representation more

This free and open event is convened by the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance - a global network of public operators and their partners - led by UN-Habitat

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We as GWOPA have a strong commitment towards gender, cultural, geographical and stakeholder representation, and work hard to ensure it is fair and even in all our activities. Now that it is the time to prepare the sessions and panels for the 4th Global WOPs Congress, we would like to share with you a few reflections and encourage you to consider them while proposing the speakers.

As all male panels are not only a misrepresentation of the sector diversity, but also a disservice to gender equality struggles in all its dimensions, we make gender diversity a precondition for GWOPA organized events. Not only female, but also young professional and mentee speakers are usually underrepresented and hence always encouraged. GWOPA is supporting speakers to panels and will offer special support and orientation sessions ahead of the Congress.

Learn Share Inspire

Thematic Areas

Ensuring access for all:

Extending services, pro-poor initiatives, social inclusion, gender mainstreaming, informal and community operators, decentralized systems

Advancing sanitation:

Wastewater collection and treatment, protecting water quality, fecal sludge management, reuse

Climate adaptation:

Climate change adaptation, ecosystem services, water conservation, source protection, water safety planning, emergency response planning

Circular development:

Regenerative urban waters, nexus approaches, carbon neutrality, water-sensitive urban design, energy efficiency

Managing crises:

Lessons from the COVID-19 response, preparedness for disasters, remote WOPs

WOPs Focus Areas

WOPs Sessions will highlight the latest trends, challenges, and possible ways to increase and improve the WOPs practice.

Governance: Enabling frameworks for WOPs

Finance: WOP funding and financial linkages

Knowledge: Connecting capacity and informing better WOPs

Monitoring: Tracking results and progress of WOPs


Water and sanitation operators have a long history of solidarity and cooperation, especially in times of crisis. Many operator staff are actively helping their peers on a collaborative basis.

The #OPERATORsSTAGE is an open space for operators anywhere to share their experiences of peer-to-peer support, partnership or working together.

#OPERATORsSTAGE events can be flexible in format but must adhere to GWOPA's principles, such as not-for-profit and solidarity objectives.

Side Events

Opportunities for side events are open to Alliance partners who want to showcase their ongoing projects and initiatives or convene other debates and discussions.

Event proposals will be screened based on criteria linked to the main themes and focus of the Congress and in accordance with the GWOPA’s Guiding Principles.

makes the WOPs Congress different

United by solidarity

United by solidarity

Water Operators’ Partnership and other not-for-profit peer support exchanges will take center stage.

The Congress is a moment for the GWOPA network and new partners to come together around a shared commitment to helping each.



The WOPs Congress has been designed in close consultation with a Congress Taskforce (public operators, WOPs facilitators, donors, workers’ unions and civil society organisations) to ensure it shines a light on real actions, impact, and opportunity to increase progress on Sustainable Development Goal 6.

A focus on operator staff

A focus on operator staff

WOPs support operator staff to do their job better and they are happening all over the world.

The Congress will bring together hundreds of operator staff to tell their stories, learn from each other and inspire individual and collective action.

Moving towards sustainable access for all

Moving towards sustainable access for all

The Congress is convened by the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance – a diverse network largely made up of public water and sanitation operators along with their partners.

Participation is free of charge and open to all organisations and individuals with an interest in sustainable water and sanitation.


Why participate?

LEARN: Contribute to and benefit from collective knowledge on peer-to-peer partnerships and the work of water operators.

SHARE: Strengthen or build new partnerships and exchange experiences with water operators and their partners.

INSPIRE... and GET INSPIRED!: Expand support for water operators and peer-to-peer learning amongst relevant stakeholders and the general public

Participation has no cost and online participation will allow everyone to take part.


Who will be there?

Stakeholders from all walks of life who support public water and sanitation utilities, including national, sub-national and local governments, donors and financial institutions, knowledge and academic institutions, multi-lateral organizations, civil society organizations, workers unions, water regulators and business.

For those new to WOPs and GWOPA, the Congress is an opportunity to interact with a global network of actors committed to solidarity and peer support in the water and sanitation space.



The event is convened by GWOPA in its host city in Bonn.

Online participation will allow alliance partners, members and newcomers to participate.

Networking and e-socialising events will be organised to connect different individuals across the globe and build new partnerships and synergies.

What's next?

What's next?

The call for Expressions of Interest is now open - submit your proposal here - until 30 April.

Successful applicants will be contacted in June.

The programme will be released in September

Stay up to date

Register now!

Participation in the Congress has no fee and is open to everyone.

Register here!