Exemplary role of Spain in International Cooperation in the Water and Sanitation sector

GWOPA and AECID organized a media breakfast in Madrid in the framework of World Water Day 2015 on Sustainable Development. The session highlighted the strategic partnership between the two entities to work toward the Human Right to Water and Sustainable Development. 

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Africa: Progress on WOPs directly supported by OFID fund and GWOPA

OuagadougouDuring the first week of March 2015, three teams from African operators participating in the WOPs supported by OFID and GWOPA conducted exchange visits within the framework of their WOPs.

A team from the national operator in Chad, Société Tchadienne des Eaux (STE), visited the headquarters of Office national de l'eau et de l'assainissement (ONEA) in the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, to conduct benchmarking activities.

Operational staff from ONEA also travelled to Lome in Togo to exchange with peers from Societe Togolaise des Eaux (TdE). This exchange is a follow-up to the benchmarking visit that took place previously and saw 2 teams from TdE travel to Ouagadougou. The aim of this mission was to assess the implementation of the short term Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) and to further develop the Medium Term PIP.

In East Africa, a team from the National Water and Sewage Corporation in Uganda (NWSC) travelled to the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) office to provide training on decentralized non-revenue water management, sustainable change management and asset management policy.

GWOPA is directly supporting 9 WOPs in various African countries that will support operators to develop short-, mid- and long-term Performance Improvement Plans to ensure sustainable improvements in their services.

7th Steering Committee Meeting in Barcelona seeks to make the Alliance more robust

Gathering for the 7th time, GWOPA's International Steering Committee brought together over 30 members from regional platforms, water and sanitation operators, unions, development agencies, private operators, academia and civil society in the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site in Barcelona. The meeting was foremost an occasion to evaluate the work conducted over 2014 by the Secretariat and Alliance members in understanding, promoting, facilitating and implementing WOPs. 

A general call to scale-up WOPs at the global level was agreed by all participants. To work towards this objective, it was agreed that greater advocacy was required in order to mainstream the WOPs approach in development projects in the water and sanitation sector. This advocacy work can be done at regional level by all WOPs stakeholders and at the global level by all stakeholders and with the support of the GWOPA secretariat. Participants agreed that the WOPs Congress will be a key event in this work and efforts must be made to bring a wide variety of actors, including donors, to these discussions.

ReducedRegional platforms presented their achievements and work plans for 2015, revealing the diversity and trends in different regions. WOPs activities in Latin America and Africa furthermore increased over 2014 owing to funding acquired from the Inter-American Development Bank and the OFID fund respectively to support implementation. Nevertheless, members of the Committee highlighted that financial sustainability is a challenge for regional platforms as many donors are not able to support the running costs of platforms. To better evaluate the situation and with view to developing a strategic plan, the Secretariat will gather contributions from each platform on their funding sources and decide on next steps.

Now in its second year of activity, initial BEWOP products based on research conducted over 2013-2014 were presented: 4 compact WOPs factsheets, two detailed case studies and an initial learning approaches manual (to be released in March 2015). Members of the committee showed particular support for the ongoing research on a monitoring and evaluation framework for WOPs. It is hoped that this framework will be a useful instrument in reinforcing the effectiveness of the WOPs approach by measuring intangible results and changes of practice within the operator. 

The GWOPA network has been involved in the thematic, political and regional preparatory processes towards the World Water Forum that will be held in April in Korea. The Forum represents an opportunity for GWOPA to bring new actors into the WOPs movement and reinforce the important collaboration with local and regional authorities. To this end, members of the committee agreed to mobilize their networks to support GWOPA's presence at this key event.

This was the last Steering Committee meeting for Chair of the session and Director of Donor Relations for UN-Habitat, Bert Diphoorn, who will be retiring in the second quarter of 2015. Special tribute was paid in recognition of his important and active role within GWOPA.

Other meeting outcomes:
- The new-look GWOPA website will be launch during the World Water Forum in Korea
- Members were called upon to increase their communication with the GWOPA secretariat regarding regional activities in order to strengthen the visibility of the Alliance.
- The secretariat was requested to propose a strategic communication plan to promote and up-scale WOPs activities.

Consult the Programme and List of Participants

Regional WOPs Platform Meeting: Making the most of the Alliance

On the eve of the 7th International Steering Committee, regional WOPs platforms within the Global WOPs Alliance came together to exchange experiences and identify ways to foster greater collaboration. 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.

First steps towards WOP in Haiti

Representatives from the Cari-WOP secretariat, operators form the Bahamas and Saint Lucia, the WHO and GWOPA took part in a diagnostic mission to Haiti February 2-4.

The purpose of the visit was to follow up on the commitment made during the Cari-Wop Steering Committee Meeting to investigate the feasibility of a WOP with the Haitian operator DINEPA. The mission was also an opportunity to get a first-hand perspective of the water and sanitation sector in some key provinces to serve as a basis for the development of the WOP programme in Haiti.

During this mission, proposal for the strengthening of four Technical Operations Centres were made and initial work on developing a plan of action and the terms of reference for this collaboration were launched. Meetings with donor agencies and working sessions were also conducted. A draft work plan and next steps for this WOP are being developed by all parties.

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