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Water Operator Partnerships: Solidarity to realise the global right to water

Picture WOPS


The members of Aqua Publica Europea have long been committed to implementing strong not-for-profit partnerships to support access to water and sanitation in developing countries with the set-up of 'Water Operator Partnerships', which are peer-to-peer, decentralised cooperation projects between utilities based on solidarity.

Such projects are recognised as highly effective instruments for sustainable, long-term improvement of performance in water management through trust-based partnerships and capacity building. 

In this framework, Aqua Publica Europea has been working closely with the UN-Habitat’s GWOPA initiative (Global Water Operator Partnerships Alliance) as well as the European Commission's Directorate-General Development and International Cooperation (DG DEVCO). 

During the World Water Week 2019, Aqua Publica Europea co-convenes a showcase session with DG DEVCO  and GWOPA on 28 August on 'Water operators’ partnerships Europe: Leveraging utilities, governments and investments for SDGs'.

The aim is to discuss the potential of not-for-profit water operator partnerships in the achievement of the global Sustainable Development Goal 6: clean water and sanitation as well as to showcase and entice operators, development agencies and financiers to join forces in a forthcoming WOP programme led by European public water utilities, GWOPA/UN-Habitat and the European Union whose objective it is to help utilities sustainably improve their capacity and performance to provide quality water and sanitation services for all.

Event highlights: EU-WOPs: Leveraging utilities, governments & investments for SDGs -  World Water Week 2019

The session was moderated by Claudia Wendland from HAMBURG WASSER and introduced by Julie Perkins from GWOPA who presented WOPs and their importance for access to water and sanitation worldwide. Claudio Bacigalupi, for the European Commission's DG DEVCO outlined the new EU WOP Programme and its objectives, stating that " the EU will support water operators cooperation for knowledge transfer as a key for wider socio-economic development".

From the utilities side, Etienne Van Bossche from Société wallonne des eaux (SWDE) noted that "WOP are effective because sharing experiences is always more instructive and useful than being taught passively" and Rose Kaggwa, from Uganda National Water complemented that the programme is "relevant because technology is important but technology is even more so and some of the technology developed in rich countries are difficult to adapt to low income countries". 

Juan Bofill from the European Investment Bank (EIB) highlighted that the EIB welcomes such a programme because, as it provides funding, it also "expects that the utility is accompanied by a WOP to increase efficiency". 

Finally, Pim van der Male, from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasised that such a programme is positive because "it won't be another donour adding up to other funders of WOPs but will build upon national intiatives to create synergies".

To illustrate the importance of Water Operator Partnership in the achievement of the SDG 6 and the realisation of the right to water and to provide an overview of the diversity of existing projects carried out by public water operators, Aqua Publica Europea publishes the factsheet: 'Solidarity to realise the global right to water'.

Download the factsheet below. 

WOPs and SDG6