Tuesday, 10 March 2015 01:00

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.

Regional 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.

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