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Water Solidarity Platform
Despite important efforts undertaken, 783 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion people lack access to basic sanitation. Sub-national institutions, such as local authorities and water utility companies, play a key role in responding to this challenge. Their technical competences and leadership, together with an active coalition of partners and concrete decentralized cooperation mechanisms, is needed to achieve universal access in water and sanitation. Local governments in both developed and developing countries share a common experience to lead efficient, accessible and accountable water and sanitation services. They are close to the service users and are knowledgeable about local conditions and needs.
The Millennium Development Goal 7, Target 10 is to halve by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Channelled through decentralized cooperation mechanisms (where local levels of government can connect with their counterparts elsewhere), the technical competencies and leadership of decentralized partners have proven to be an important vehicle in achieving this. Honouring its commitment to support decentralized cooperation complementarily with the ART Initiative, UNDP established with several local level authorities and water suppliers a thematic platform dedicated to water and sanitation in late 2011: the Global Water Solidarity international platform (GWS).
Global Water Solidarity aims to become an Institutional platform for local level water management. In the first step it will conduct demand-driven feasibility studies among different local level actors involved or interested in engaging in decentralized solidarity cooperation. While these technical studies enrich already existing knowledge at the local level, the value added of GWS is in the standardization of its solidarity mechanisms and ensuring that its proposed technical frameworks on water and sanitation are properly integrated within a coherent sustainable human development response.
Knowledge management and exchange
GWS systematize and builds upon the existing solutions and best practices and facilitates a more effective participation of local actors in the planning, delivery and monitoring of water and sanitation management at local and national level. In this regard, GWS consolidates the knowledge and experiences accumulated over the years, to facilitate technical cooperation and the exchange of good practices and know-how among local level actors. It therefore contributes to greater ownership and accountability of development actors, which in turn yields greater transparency of development processes. All these services create an international decentralized cooperation community of practice on water and sanitation issues, as showcased by several studies on local, national and international innovative solutions. Furthermore, as a broker of local-to-local knowledge and experience such as South to South and triangular, GWS aims to strengthen UNDP's provision of tailored services to meet the different national and local requirements in water and sanitation.
Harmonization of partners and interventions
Furthermore, GWS outlines regional maps of the technical competencies and governance capacities/facilities of its donor partners, therefore promoting more aligned solidarity actions of the actors from the North, and contributing to improve the territorial management of water and sanitation in the South. These harmonized GWS interventions are channelled in support of integrated territorial plans, which reduce fragmentation and the overlap between various water and sanitation programmes and increase the impact and sustainability of efforts in support of SHD. The technical solidarity partnerships translate in joint and aligned actions, creating a more attractive environment for financial cooperation, whether from traditional donors or solidarity networks. The well-harmonized decentralized transfer of technical competencies will also create and promote more opportunities for local authorities, national governments, specialized public agencies, private institutions and civil society organizations from the water and sanitation sector. GWS aims to link the common interests of each of these actors to the multilateral framework, seeking the complementarity of the territory's interests and resources and, to certain extent, the territory's internationalization.
Thanks to its convening capacity, GWS will support the creation of innovative partnerships with influential institutions. This will in turn support UNDP and the GWS members to scale up water and sanitation activities and maximize their impact at the country level, and to improve knowledge resources and training modules for development partners. Likewise, it will reinforce the impact of advocacy in policy-making.
Promotion of the solidarity mechanisms for innovative financing
While advocating for innovative partnerships in water and sanitation sector, Global Water Solidarity will work on developing funds coming from both, solidarity and bilateral sources. The funds will be used to support local level needs in providing clean, safe and sustainable water. Global Water Solidarity seeks to deliver tangible solutions to local challenges while linking local priorities to international policies.