Keeping Focus in the Midst of Uncertainty

Global Water Partnership (GWP) is assessing, on an ongoing basis, the COVID-19 crisis and the impact it is having on the health, daily lives, and livelihoods, of our staff, our members and stakeholders, and the consequences to our 2020 global work plans.

“We are looking first to ensure our staff’s well-being, mindful of our responsibility vis-à-vis others, and we work to create an environment in which we can be as effective as possible in delivering towards our mission and business plan,” said GWP Executive Secretary Monika Weber-Fahr. “We are in this together – with our partners, allies, donors, friends, and their communities – and we are in solidarity with everybody affected by the virus.”

Limitations to work arrangements for GWP staff worldwide differ in each of GWP’s 13 regions – following government advice in each country. Most staff are working from home in order to safeguard their own and other people’s health.

Across the world many events are being canceled or postponed and it is clear that GWP, as a convener of stakeholders, will do the same with many of its workshops and other face-to-face gatherings. At the same time, much of what GWP does is already online (e.g., webinars, online courses, etc.) or can be moved to an online platform. Investments are being made in the skills and capacities of all teams to become even better facilitators and conveners – now in more virtual environments.

“In the midst of the global health crisis, addressing other issues of ongoing concern becomes a challenge. At the same time, the limitations to the availability of healthy water resources, now and in the long term, are one of the world’s most pressing challenges and they must be kept on the world’s agenda for action,” notes Professor Amadou Hama Maiga, speaking on behalf of GWP’s Regional Chairs. “Our commitment made prior to the crisis to launch the ‘The Water Changemaker Awards’ – a global initiative that will make visible those who shape water decisions that build climate resilience – is now more important than ever. This is an initiative that allows for online engagement and participation.”

The Water Changemaker Awards were launched on World Water Day 2020 (March 22) by GWP together with nearly 20 partner organisations. “In times of a health crisis of this scale, access to clean water and sanitation is more important than ever. It underlines the urgency to act that GWP’s 2020-2025 Strategy calls for,” added Weber-Fahr. “Many essentials must continue, and one is taking smart decisions on how we use the planet’s water, how we protect our water, and how we protect ourselves from water-related hazards such as floods and droughts as the climate crisis continues.”