Blog: A shared vision for the global water sector
In the latest blog from water sector charity WaterAid, Rob Fuller explores the potential for greater international co-operation when it comes to water strategy
Last time I briefly mentioned the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a series of seventeen inter-linked targets agreed by the United Nations in September 2015, with the aim of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030. The goals cover a wide range of issues including agriculture, education, economy, gender equality and, crucially, a dedicated goal on delivering water and sanitation to everyone, everywhere by 2030 (Goal 6).
Along with many others in the water sector, WaterAid lobbied hard for a WASH goal in the SDGs and we were of course, delighted by its inclusion. What excites me about the SDGs in particular is the opportunity it presents to unite the global water sector behind a common vision and to create a shared role for the sector in delivering Goal 6. Because, despite the optimism associated with this goal, the challenge itself remains huge. 630 million people still lack access to clean water and 2.3 billion don’t have a decent toilet, and WaterAid cannot meet this challenge alone. It is only by the entire sector coming together - public and private, NGO and government - that will we achieve the scale necessary to truly reach everyone, everywhere by 2030.
This was particularly highlighted to me at the recent International Water Association World Water Congress in Brisbane. This biennial event brings together water professionals from across the globe to discuss the latest advances across the sector. As always, the Congress had a strong focus on technological developments but what was striking this year was the very high profile of Goal 6, including a keynote address from WaterAid’s Chief Executive Barbara Frost. The response to Barbara’s address and others across the Congress was huge and it’s clear there is a real desire across the sector to take ownership for delivering Goal 6. But how do we make that happen?
For our part, WaterAid’s response has been the roll-out of our Global Strategy across the countries where we work. This strategy has four key objectives; to address inequalities in access to WASH; to ensure sustainable WASH services by strengthening the institutions responsible for delivering them; to integrate WASH across other sectors (health, education, agriculture, etc.); and to embed good hygiene behaviours in communities where we work.
To ensure the strategy has real impact we also need to look at partnerships in a different way and find partners who can help us deliver our strategy on a global and regional scale. With that in mind, I was delighted to be part of a delegation that visited the headquarters of Grundfos in Denmark recently to sign a new five-year partnership with the global pump and solutions manufacturer. What’s exciting about this partnership in particular is that it is based on a shared commitment to delivering Goal 6 and a recognition that both partners will gain equally from the partnership. Grundfos have sustainability at the core of their business and, in their Chief Executive, Mads Nipper, have a charismatic and highly visible champion for the SDGs who has influence at the highest levels. It is only through these sorts of strategic partnerships the sector will make real in-roads into achieving access to water and sanitation for everyone everywhere by 2030.
Find out more about WaterAid’s Global Strategy www.wateraid.org/uk/who-we-are/our-strategy
- Front Line: Souleymane Ouedraogo, WaterAid This month WWT meets Souleymane Ouedraogo, who builds toilets as part of a WaterAid-funded programme in Ouagadougou,... Read More >
- Conjet Robot assists with Guri Dam spillway repairs Repairs at one of the biggest hydro plants in the world used specialised equipment imported from Sweden. On behalf of... Read More >
- Flood management: making more of less As the cuts to flood management budgets bite, David Keiller, technical director, Black & Veatch Europe, Middle East,... Read More >
- Rainwater spin-out companies offer innovative path Researchers from the University of Exeter's Centre for Water Systems are putting the latest rainwater harvesting and SuDS... Read More >
- Comment: Preparing for extreme weather events The challenge of climate change resilience means that the conventional deterministic approach to drought planning is no... Read More >
- Interview: Jean Spencer, Anglian Water director, on drought resilience In this WWT profile interview Jean Spencer, Director of Strategic Growth and Resilience at Anglian Water, talks about the... Read More >
- The universal challenge of water Water utilities across the world face many similar challenges despite their varying locations and economic conditions,... Read More >
- Front Line: Luke Petts, Metering Team Leader, Morrison Utility Services In this month's Front Line feature we meet Luke Petts, who leads the team of meter installers on Thames Water's Smart... Read More >
- Supply Network Manager Location: Somerset Salary: £30,767 to £41,226 per annum Looking for your next career move in water supply? If so, we may have a fantastic... Read more here.
- Senior Analyst The Organisation The Water Industry Commission for Scotland is the economic regulator of the water and sewerage industry in Scotland. ... Read more here.
- Key Account Manager Key Account Manager Competitive Salary: £40,000+ DOE London and Thames Valley Knowledge, Skills & Experience Commercially astute with... Read more here.
- Contracts Manager Contracts Manager Castle Water Limited Castle Water is the leading independent water retailer in the UK, and one of the fastest growing... Read more here.
- Divisional Customer Services Director Castle Water is the leading independent water retailer in the UK, and one of the fastest growing utility supply companies, supplying services... Read more here.