UN-Habitat is opening a new call for a Host to the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA) Secretariat for the 2020-2024 Period. The GWOPA is a UN-Habitat programme focused on strengthening public water utilities around the world and enhancing collaboration between them.
Water and Sanitation Utilities have a critical role in achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals at the local level. In small towns and big cities, water and sanitation operators help deliver on basic human rights (UNGA Res 64/292) providing services that are fundamental to inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities (SDG 11) where no one is left behind (New Urban Agenda).
GWOPA works to scale up peer-support partnerships (Water Operators’ Partnerships or WOPs) between water and sanitation service providers. WOPs strengthen water and sanitation operators to help ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (SDG 6), contributing to SDG6 targets on inclusive access to services, water quality, water use efficiency, integrated water management and conservation, capacity development and community engagement.
GWOPA is an outcome of the Hashimoto Action Plan, launched in March 2006 by the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB), which recommended the establishment of a global mechanism to promote Water Operators’ Partnerships (WOPs) between utilities to exchange their knowledge and to build their capacities for sustainable performance improvement.
As not-for-profit partnerships, WOPs offer high value for money. They are embraced for their ability to help utilities achieve financial sustainability, and to secure and manage much-needed finance for sustainable infrastructure. At least 390 million USD have been mobilized for WOPs in the past decade.
GWOPA now counts 340 of these WOP partnerships around the world enhancing capacity for improved services, and a network or regional and national WOP 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.
GWOPA works as an Alliance and it counts among its members public water utilities and their associations on all continents. As a global convener, GWOPA brings diverse water and urban stakeholders including governments at local, regional and national levels, financial partners, development organizations, private utilities, civil society and labour unions together around the same table at global events like the WOPs Congress, the World Water Forum and the World Urban Forum.
The GWOPA Secretariat is managed by UN-Habitat and guided by a multi-stakeholder International Steering Committee, chaired by UN-Habitat’s Executive Director, which meets annually. The Steering Committee is elected from GWOPA’s General Assembly, held every two years together with the Global WOPs Congress.
GWOPA’s work supports the strategic objective of UN-Habitat “to advance sustainable urbanization as a driver of development and peace, to improve living conditions for all” and will contribute to all four Domains of Change within UN-Habitat’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.