Global water security: partnerships for sustainability

Global water security: partnerships for sustainability

April 24, 2018

Global water security: partnerships for sustainability

Set up in July 2017, the Global Water Security & Sanitation Partnership (GWSP) is an international alliance that operates to guarantee water security and sustainability

“GWSP is a global platform for innovation and it will help us go that extra mile needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals” said Guangzhe Chen, Senior Director of the Water Global Practice, the World Bank program for water, describing the new alliance set up in the summer of 2017. This is a collaboration among illustrious partners, including private institutions and ministries for development and foreign affairs from many nations: a veritable live laboratory conceived to offer guidelines, knowledge and information, as well as raising awareness on the importance of water for the global wellbeing. 

A complex context

Water interferes with almost all aspects of development: it is essential for life and for the economy. Water management goes well beyond the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal No 6, which is devoted to this precious element. Without water we cannot produce food to reduce hunger and poverty, nor energy for sustainable urban development; water is essential for sanitation, without which we cannot improve general health, and much more. Despite this awareness, 4.5 billion people globally still lack sanitation and sewerage, and 2.1 billion have no access to safely managed drinking water services. This difficult context also has to contend with climate change increasing the risk of water scarcity in some areas and of natural disasters in others. Innovative solutions are needed to manage these new challenges, and GWSP can help find such solutions, thanks to forty years of expertise built by the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) and the World Bank.

One final objective, 5 priorities

The GWSP identified five priority sectors, where we need to act with greater incisiveness to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals impacting water directly or indirectly. 

1. Sustainability. We strive to ensure that current water resources remain available for future generations as well, by working on two main aspects: sustainable management of current resources and ad hoc infrastructure creation. 

2. Inclusion. Water belongs to everyone, but despite this, too many people are still unable to enjoy the benefits of water security. We need action to increase awareness and knowledge of this issue at different levels.


3. Institutions. We are working to understand the 'rules of the game' and to strengthen institutions' ability to supply the necessary services to ensure global water security and facilitate change that is based on local cultures and economies.

4. Financing. To achieve the water-related Sustainable Development Goals we need an unprecedented investment in this area. We need a two-pronged approach which increases the financing options of the water sector by relying on private financing rather than just state funds (guaranteeing an economic return to the investors, as well as service to the populations).

5. Resilience. Water security will face increasingly frequent crises in the future, and this is why we need to find resilient solutions that can deal with water scarcity and natural disasters, taking into account all environmental, social and sustainability issues. 

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