A new Global Water Operators Partnership Alliance aimed at improving water and sanitation access for the poorest of the poor was launched at the World Water Week convention in Stockholm, Sweden on Wednesday.
The Alliance was launched by H.R.H. The Prince of Orange of The Netherlands at a ceremonial dinner hosted by UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka. The guests included representatives of the donor community, recipient countries, and UN-HABITAT partner organisations including UN-Water, the African Ministerial Conference on Water, the Water and Sanitation Collaborative Council, and the Swedish International Water Institute, organisers of the World Water Week in Stockholm.
The Alliance was launched by H.R.H. The Prince of Orange,in his capacity as the Chairperson of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation. In his address to the assembled guests, His he said that the Global Water Operators’ Partnership Alliance would help governments and donor agencies empower local authorities and communities with the resources and professional capacity required to manage water supply and sanitation service delivery, a task that was identified as critical by the Millennium Project Task Force on Water.
Mrs. Tibaijuka said the new Alliance sought to set up a worldwide network that will help support operators who deliver water and sanitation services.
“This cooperation will encourage capacity building amongst all those, from the public, private sectors and the NGO community who are interested in participating in public water undertakings with a view to meeting the Millennium Development Goals,” Mrs. Tibaijuka said. She concluded by emphasising that the success of the GWOP Alliance was dependant on the commitment and generosity of donors.
In the initial three years, it is estimated that operations of the Alliance will cost a total of US $7 million, out of which UN-HABITAT will provide US $ 1.8 million to meet the costs of core staff and office expenses, with Alliance partners contributing to its substantive activities.
The proposal to establish the Alliance forms part of the compendium of actions, known as the Hashimoto Action Plan, designed to strengthen the capacity of key players engaged in the water and sanitation sector. It has received approval and support from many international and regional organizations.
World leaders meeting at the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000 committed themselves to attaining Millennium Development Goal 7, target 10 to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015. In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg included a target to halve by 2015, the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation.
Globally, the challenge of providing one billion people with access to safe water supplies and 2.4 billion people with basic sanitation by the end of 2015 means that an additional 30,000 people must have access to clean water and 450, 000 people must be provided with basic sanitation each day. To meet this challenge, collaboration between water supply and sanitation utilities will be critical in order to improve the performance of inefficient utilities through the exchange of experiences and transfer of skills.
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