Global WOPs Congress & General Assembly

Versión Española


Congress news item

The majority of people on earth get their most essential basic good – potable water – from water and sanitation operators. As cities grow and freshwater is under increasing stress, the work of this often under-valued actor is ever more central to our health and well-being.

The 3rd Global WOPs Congress is dedicated to the work of these service providers in contributing to our sustainable development. Utilities, donors, knowledge institutions and key urban water sector stakeholders from around the world will gather in Barcelona to advance knowledge, exchange experience, and initiate support for water and sanitation operators through Water Operators' Partnerships. 

The event will be held from September 16-18th, 2015 at Barcelona's Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site and will be conducted in English, French and Spanish. With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) being launched this year and water and sanitation operators set to play a major role in their implementation, the SDGs will be the focus of this year's Congress.

Call for Candidates - GWOPA Steering Committee
Social Events and Activities
Programme Overview and Session Descriptions
Practical questions and logistic (including hotels)
The WOPs Lounge


✓ Operators and Sustainable Urban Development

✓ New Roles for Operators in an Urban Era

✓ Sustainable Financing for Sustainable Operators


10 thematic sessions will cover a wide variety of issues related to the work of operators, WOPs and efforts towards Sustainable Development. Sanitation, finance, resilience, and integrated urban water management are just a few of the topics that will be covered in these sessions. Interpretation will be provided in English and Spanish or French. Find out more abour the thematic sessions



✓ Asia (English / Spanish Interpretation)

✓ Africa (English / French Interpretation)

 Latin America (English / Spanish Interpretation)


Every 2 years, GWOPA holds a General Assembly, immediately following the Global WOPs Congress. During the General Assembly, half of GWOPA's International Steering Committee - composed of representatives from public water utilities from all regions, development partners, labour unions, civil society organizations and private operators - is turned over through elections.

The GWOPA Steering Committee is the elected body that provides guidance to the GWOPA Secretariat. It meets once a year to help define GWOPA Secretariat direction, review progress and work plans, and provide critical feedback on implementation.  Steering Committee members are to act as focal points and advocates for GWOPA within their respective regions and communities of practice.  


Half of the Steering Committee will be renewed through elections at the GWOPA General Assembly on September 18th, immediately following the 3rd Global WOPs Congress in Barcelona, Spain.  Eligible organizations that are attending the General Assembly and are interested in becoming members of the steering committee are invited to indicate their interest to the GWOPA Secretariat by email untilSeptember 17th. See the Call for Candidate Instructions.


GWOPA provided direct support to 9 pairs of African operators, with a funding from OFID (the OPEC Foundation), to develop medium term Performance Improvement Plans and implement short term PIPs. As this initiative is now coming to an end, the workshop will aim at drawing the lessons learned from the process of developing PIPs in the framework of WOPs. More about this workshop


The event will welcome those practicing, supporting, studying or curious about using not-for-profit peer support between water operators to improve global water and sanitation services, including:

✓ Water and wastewater utilities
✓ Local and National Governments
✓ Donors and financial institutions
✓ Knowledge and academic institutions in the water and sanitation sector
✓ Civil society organizations
✓ Labour Unions


The Global WOPs Congress is a unique occasion for WOPs practitioners and supporters from around the world to come together and exchange ideas. Beyond the discussions that happens in the formal Congress program, participants will have the chance to speak with one another directly. The WOP Lounge is an open space designed to give participants the opportunity to talk with one another and engage on issues of common interest.

Find out more about the WOPs LOUNGE



A multi-cultural city, Barcelona is rich in history, architecture and tradition, and is one of the main industry hubs in the Mediterranean. The city is on the frontline of innovative urban practices and management as it serves the 5 million people living in the metropolitan area. It also hosts the GWOPA Secretariat. 

The Congress and General Assembly will be held in the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site (Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau), the biggest Art Nouveau site in the world. Please use the entrance at the corner of Sant Antoni Maria Claret and Cartagena.

Only registered participants will be able to access the building and all participants will be asked to show their identification (passport, ID card) on the first day.

More information on Barcelona and Sant Pau

Follow us on Twitter @gwopa or Facebook to receive updates on the Congress or send an email to the Congress organizers at congress[at] if you have any inquiries.


Participation in the conference is free of charge, however space is limited and reserved for those involved and/or interested in WOPs or with experience in capacity development, water access or other topics related to the Congress. All those interested in participating are encouraged to register early. Registration is now open.

Registered participants will be given promotional codes to reserve rooms at negotiated rates in a selected number of hotels in Barcelona. September is still peak season in Barcelona and participants are advised to secure accommodation as early as possible.



Report from the 2nd Congress

Highlights from the Congress 

More about the 2nd WOPs Congress


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