During the UNSGAB meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2009, South East European water ministers expressed their support for WOPs and the establishment of a regional platform to enable them. Demand for WOPs has since been echoed at regional meetings of water utilities and their associations. A WOP-SEE platform was, in response, established as a network of partners working to facilitate WOPs in the region. Its overall goal is to provide better and equitable water and sanitation services to all in the region.
The Platform is supporting WOPs amongst South East European utilities by:
- encouraging performance measurement and transparency, stimulate healthy competition and facilitate WOPs by helping operators identify appropriate partners
- assisting operators in brokering, planning, financing, implementing and monitoring WOPs
- developing and availing information, tools, and guidelines to those wishing to engage in WOPs
- supporting utility-led training activities to develop the skills of water operators by helping them share their know-how and anchor it within other utilities
- sharing experience range of communication activities including websites, newsletters, and conference participation
- connecting WOPs practitioners in SEE with the global WOPs community mobilizing resources for the implementation of WOPs in the region
The activities at the WOP-SEE platform are planned, coordinated and monitored by a Secretariat and supervised and guided by a Steering Committee, comprising national associations, water and wastewater operators and other stakeholders. A 3-year business plan and resource mobilization strategy for the platform is currently in preparation.
With the support of the Inter-American Development Bank(IADB),UN-HABITAT,UN-DESA, and AIDIS Inter-americana, and with the participation of representatives from leading water operators in the region, a Platform to support WOPs in the Latin America and Caribbean region was established in 2008.
The platform developed progressively out of a consultative process with operators, regulators, associations and support agencies. Following a meeing in Recife, Brazil, in June 2007, at which operators and regulators from 20 countries in the region expressed their support for the launching of a WOP initiative, a Steering Committee was established and Stratetic Action Plan developed and adopted.
The WOP-LAC Work Plan has 3 working windows:
Window I: Twinning exchanges among operators.
Window II: Promotion of good practices through capacity building and promotion of participation of national and regional associations.
Window III: Administration, management and promotion. Fund raising.
Nine twinning partnership agreements between LAC operators were signed in 2009. These covered a range of areas including energy efficiency, water loss reduction, e-procurement, asset management, commercial management, operation and maintenance, customer-oriented service, and water demand management. 2010 has also been a year of significant achievement for WOP-LAC. Highlights include:
- Development of `benchmarking' system through information received from operators (self-assessment survey in 2009).
- ‘Matchmaking’ workshops for medium and small operators in Central and South America
- Integration of `Water Safety Plans’ in the `Performance Improvement Plans (PIP)' developed by the participating operators.
- Five workshops were held on: i) water loss reduction, ii) energy efficiency, iii) commercial management, iv) water consumption/water culture, v) Corporate Governance, vi) strategies of extension of water and sanitation services to the poor and vulnerable sectors in urban and peri-urban areas of LAC (convened and funded by IDB, GWOPA and EPM (Colombia) in Medellin, October 2010).
- Adoption of `Monitoring and Evaluation Policy and Tools ' in the framework of the WOP-LAC.
To address the specific needs of the small island and coastal states of the Caribbean, a sub-regional Caribbean platform, Cari-WOP, was initiated, under the WOP-LAC umbrella.
- A Non-Revenue Water Training Workshop, co-funded by IDB and UN-HABITAT, was organized and hosted by BWSL in Belize, in May 2010).
- Two workshops on benchmarking and on the European Water Facility call for proposals were carried out in the CWWA Congress early in October 2010.
- Other workshops were convened and funded by IDB (energy efficiency, commercial management, corporate governance).
GWOPA is cooperating with a number of development partners to promote WOPs in the Arab Region. Together with the Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACWUA), a matchmaking workshop for water operators in the region was organized in Amman, Jordan, in December 2010. Facilitation of WOPs partnerships amongst participating utilities has been initiated in partnership with the GIZ Water Program in Palestine. GWOPA is also organizing a training workshop on Water Safety Plans (WSPs) in Beirut, Lebanon, in partnership with UN-ESCWA, BGR, and ACWUA in December 2011.
In the Asia-Pacific region, GWOPA has been working in close cooperation with WaterLinks, a regional platform established by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), USAID Eco-Asia and the International Water Association (IWA). Since it’s launching in 2008, over 40 WOPs have been implemented through the platform. The WaterLinks Secretariat, based in Manila, now serves as a member of GWOPA Steering Committee.
In the Pacific region, GWOPA has been working in collaboration with the Pacific Water and Waste Association (PWWA) to respond to demand by the water and sanitation utilities of these small island developing states for increased regional exchange and cooperation. Following a Utility Matchmaking Workshop in July 2010 in Auckland, New Zealand at which operators from a dozen islands identified twinning opportunities, a Pacific sub-regional WOPs platform was launched in September 2010 at the Pacific Water Conference in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The Asian Development Bank already supporting a WOP between Papua New Guinea and Australian utilities, and several more WOPs are in the pipeline for 2012.
In South Asia, GWOPA has supported the establishment of P-WOPs, the national WOP platform in Pakistan. The network of urban water supply and sanitation service providers in Pakistan have been entrusted with the mandate to extend water and sanitation services to all. P-WOP will support Pakistan's utilities as well as other WSS operators in their efforts to achieve universal watsan coverage throughout Pakistan. UN-HABITAT Pakistan, in collaboration with GWOPA and the Water and Sanitation Program – South Asia (WSP-SA), supports the secretariat of P-WOPs which is based in the Government of Punjab's Planning and Development Department Urban Unit.
WOP-Africa was established as a sub-program of the African Water Association (AfWA) in Johannesburg in 2007 by representatives of over 50 African Water Utilities. The regional platform for WOPs on the continent was established with support from UN-HABITAT, the Water and Sanitation Programme of the World Bank and the International Water Association.
Although twinning and partnerships had long been practiced in Africa, the Hashimoto action plan created the momentum and political will to build an African platform to significantly scale up WOPs on the continent. Thus the idea of establishing a regional WOP initiative for Africa was developed with the overall goal of supporting African countries in their efforts to achieve universal coverage for WATSAN services with the MDGs as a common benchmark.
GWOPA supported the first year of the platform by funding the position of the Programme Manager for one year, supporting initial twinning activities and helping the African Water Association to approach donors and to secure funds for the program. As a result of fundraising efforts, USAID committed 1.5 million USD and the African Water Facility of the African Development Bank 0.742 million USD. This funding is supporting core activities and a Secretariat (a Program Manager, a Program Officer and an Administrative Assistant).