NAIROBI, 10 June 2019 – Water and sanitation utilities have a critical role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Water and sanitation operators help deliver on basic human rights in cities providing services that are fundamental to inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable communities where no one is left behind, contributing to the overall achievement of the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda.

Despite different contexts, water utilities around the world have much in common, and much knowledge and expertise to share. Through Water Operators’ Partnerships (WOPs), peer utilities help one another on a not-for-profit basis, to learn, develop and improve their performance. WOPs help strengthen water and sanitation operators to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (SDG 6). WOPs contribute to SDG 6 targets on inclusive access to services, water quality, water use efficiency, integrated management and conservation, capacity development and community engagement.

The Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA) is the global hub for WOPs: advocating and building knowledge. GWOPA convenes diverse water and urban stakeholders such as governments, financial partners, development organizations, private utilities, civil society and labour unions, to help utilities support each other. The GWOPA Secretariat is managed by UN-Habitat and guided by a multi-stakeholder International Steering Committee, chaired by UN-Habitat’s Executive Director.

In support of the New Urban Agenda, GWOPA helps participating countries to commit “to equipping public water and sanitation utilities with the capacity to implement sustainable water management systems” and recognize the need for sustainable and inclusive water and sanitation services.

In the ten years since it was founded, GWOPA has catalyzed a flourishing global Water Operators’ Partnerships practice, with over 300 WOPs on record around the world enhancing capacity for improved services, and a network of regional and national 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.

Since 2013, with thanks to the support of the Government of Spain, the GWOPA Secretariat has been hosted in Barcelona. Having reached the end of its current hosting cycle, UN-Habitat is now seeking a new host to support GWOPA in implementing its new 5-year plan.

Hosting Call for the GWOPA Secretariat

Recognizing the continued importance of the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA), UN-Habitat has opened a Hosting Call for the global Secretariat of GWOPA to continue to inspire, mobilize support for, catalyze, guide, monitor and enable partnerships among water operators towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

Today, as a growing number of cities and towns cities face severe water stress, strong utilities are more important than ever. This is an opportunity to support more local water and sanitation service providers around the world to provide sustainable services to all, and to continue refining and scaling up the approach. GWOPA embraces the strategic objective of UN-Habitat “to advance sustainable urbanization as a driver of development and peace, to improve living conditions for all.”

The Hosting Call is open to any UN Member State or public entity endorsed by its national government. A joint proposal by more than one country may also be considered.

For more information, please click on the Hosting Call


Banner photo: Modern urban wastewater treatment plant [Por Dmitri Ma/shutterstock]