While there has been progress in extending access to water and sanitation services in recent decades, 2.1 billion people still cannot count on contamination-free water, available on premises whenever they need it, and 4.5 billion still lack sanitation systems that protect them from disease.
Water Operators’ Partnerships (WOPs) are peer support exchanges between two or more water operators, carried out on a not-for-profit basis, with the objective of strengthening their capacity, enhancing their performance and enabling them to provide a better service to more people. WOPs have a proven track-record and can be highly cost-effective.
Formally founded by UN-Habitat in January 2009, upon the request of the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA) is an international network created to support water operators through WOPs. GWOPA has documented case studies, analysed success factors, developed guidance material, and developed a strong alliance of water operators, water associations, development partners, labour and civil society bodies, International Financial Institutions and the private sector. GWOPA has played the chief role in promoting and coordinating WOPs around the world.
An evaluation of the past strategy 2013-2017 confirmed that WOPs are effective and GWOPA is instrumental in pushing their agenda. The experience of implementing GWOPA’s 2013- 2017 strategy offered rich lessons for the upcoming strategy period that have been fully integrated in this new Strategy.