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Plenary Session

Future-facing operators:  Perspectives and innovations to reach the SDGs

Monday, 22 May 2023
17:15 — 18:15
Plenary Room
GWOPA is the Convener for the session.

With a heightened pace of change, service providers are being called upon to anticipate and develop strategies for what lies ahead. Ensuring inclusive and sustained services requires utilities and their employees to be increasingly proactive, agile, and able to deal with risk and uncertainty.  

This plenary discussion will hear from water and sanitation service providers from different parts of the world who are building their capacity to embrace the future. They will share their outlooks and discuss the innovations and perspectives they are using to address the climatic, technical, and societal phenomena on the horizon.

Panelists will showcase and discuss how they are adopting more efficient, nature-based, or nature-inspired models in the context of global environmental change or how they are addressing age, racial, and gender injustices by diversifying their workforce and leaving no one behind in the delivery of services. They will look at digital technologies and artificial intelligence that are helping make more informed decisions and tailored solutions and discuss the risks they may also carry. 

Utilities will share how they are helping one another to build the skills they need for an uncertain future. The session will encourage solidarity and mentorship to help operators address upcoming challenges proactively and with agility. It will discuss knowledge, techniques, and approaches that WOPs can adopt to help operators accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and, in particular, SDG 6.


Keynote Speaker

Dr. Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy

Executive Director, International Water Association



Milo Fiasconaro

Executive Director,  Aqua Publice Europea



Ms. Eunice Tejan

Director Of Commercial Services, Guma Valley Water Company, Sierra Leone

Eunice Tejan is the director of commercial services at Guma Valley Water Company in Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa. She has been working with the water utility for the past ten years with experience in billing, collections and customer engagement. She is passionate about working for low-income communities.


Ms. Castell-Exner

President, Eureau

A PhD in Physical Geography, Ms Claudia is the head of the water management team of DVGW, the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water. Claudia joined EurEau, the European Federation of National Associations of Water Services in 1991 and became its President in 2019.


Ms. Monika Weber-Fahr

Senior Advisor, Results and Partnerships, The World Bank

Monika Weber-Fahr is with us here as a member of the World Bank’s Global Water Team. Throughout her career, she has created and led many innovation initiatives, including the World Bank’s first corporate outward-looking innovation mechanism – at the time called the “Development Marketplace”-  and the IFC’s Sustainability Innovator Financing facility. Monika is an economist by training.


Ms. Abigail Kemper

Lead, Research and Engagement, Open Cities Lab

Abigail Kemper is coordinating a project in partnership with eThekwini Water and Sanitation, which relates to unpacking water tariffs with an aim to achieve affordable tariffs for existing customers and also extend their reach to informal and rural customers so that they can be more sustainable and benefit the poorest of the poor.
— Session Programme