GWP 25 Anniversary Interviews - Partners

To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of GWP's existence, we decided to interview 25 of our most renowned people and their relation to GWP CEE. In this article, we focused on our partners.

We interviewed some of our best partners, and merged  their answers together, to create one group interview with their perception on GWP throught the years. The answeres were gathered from the representants of Kotivizig, Limnos, and VUVH.


About the vision and added value of GWP partnership. 

  1. How long have you been a member of GWP network? 

    The interviewed partners usually either participated on foundation of their respective Country Water Partnerships (CWP), or joined at the very beginning.
  2. In what way do you see GWP as a valuable partner, capable of making change?

    GWP has a strong team leading a network where bottom up inputs are chanelled into impactful opinions and initiatives.

    GWP as a promoter of Integrated water resources management has a crucial role to lobby in the government to increase the recognition of water resources for all areas of national development. This mission was established just at the beginning of GWP, but it is still valid. Even in countries that “declare” the application of IWRm – there are pitfalls in real implementation. Sometimes, it is wise to consider that “water” and “soil” are two component of one system that needs to be governed without political influences.

    With its unique international network of partnerships, active professional support, and strong communication skills, GWP draws attention to a number of new collaboration opportunities, and has approached our Directorate with several project initiatives that have led to concrete collaborations.

  3. What do you think is the most valuable thing/biggest achievement GWP has delivered so far? 

    Inputs in defining and promoting SDGs and IWRM.

    There are several  milestones – the first was that GWP was able to push for recognision of IWRM in most political agendas and many countries have started to draft their water policies – deriving from IWRm principles. Another milestone was that there is a dedicated SDG6 – under Agenda 2030. Later, GWP has an instrumental role in Climate Change agenda – since paris Agreement – much more focus is given to adaptation (and not only mitigation).

    The role of the communication bridge that GWP CEE plays in water-themed cooperation between Eastern and Central European countries is the biggest achievement.

  4. What is an interesting story that you were part of, related to GWP? 

    We prepared a detailed report for the Water ChangeMaker Award competition, which allowed us to review and rethink our own organizational activities and priorities.


  5. How do you see GWP developing in the upcoming years? 

    In promotion of cooperation towards water resilient society.

    There's a need to penetrate to those organizations that allocate funds.

    The regional GWPs can be particularly successful, as they can act as a mediator that can bring together actors with similar problems but less partnership on their own.

About the Green Recovery Position Paper.

  1. Do you consider such position papers as a useful material for the purposes of your network? Could something else be used instead?

    It is a good orientation in what the EU level can support and the territory (CEE) needs. Its easier for the network to focus on joint targets.

    The paper is OK for „global“ discussion. Less practical for national levels. However, it gives a glimps about advocacy of GWP CEE, so, it makes good P&R for GWP CEE.

    A high-quality supporting document that summarizes well the perspectives and opportunities of sectoral agents with different opportunities.

  2. Has it been useful as a guidance for your work already? If yes, how?

    The use of the paper is in various stages, depending on a partner, with some already at the preparatory work for their own projects. 

  3. Are you eligible/interested/motivated to apply for funding mechanisms like EU Green Deal and similar?

    It might be useful in the future to reorganise a network in this direction. So far we are exploiting community of partners for individual applications.

    Indeed – We are in the government sector and I was a member of drafting national components for Green Deal mechanisms.

    We constantly preparing proposals for various EU calls, and we will continue to do so in the future.

  4. How do you see the topics that GWP CEE works on (e.g., Drought, Floodplains, Natural Small Water Retention Measures, Youth engagement)? Which hot topics in the water management should GWP CEE focus on? 

    Methodology/guidelines for facilitation of bottom-up water related initiatives, ex. how to identify and form local initiatives, particularly NBS.

    Some inspiration what could be useful: 1. Link between flood protection and river restoration (there are two opposite groups and they do not listen to each other regarding IWRM), 2. Link between sustainable energy production from renewable source and sustainable use of water. 3. integrated water and land resources – mission impossible? In all cases, the principles of IWRM are compromised based upon the political agenda.

    Well-matched, well-managed topics, with a special emphasis on youth cooperation, there are still many untapped opportunities here.

About transboundary initiatives.

  1. How do you perceive transboundary initiatives, supported by GWP CEE (events, projects, activities)? 

    As very necessary, as regional areas are much connected, but often not supported on national level.

    Good and this should stay a core of GWP CEE activities

  2. What transboundary initiatives would you like your network to participate in? 

    We do, Sava Commission. On individual level, I'd like to see more cooperation on cross border protected areas, not just river basins (although this geography is often overlapping).

    Those that respond to EU strategies – for example revitalization of rivers; what will happen after 2027 with water planning, etc.

  3. What kind of transboundary initiatives should GWP CEE focus on in the future? 

    It's more of a strategic question for the network members. In our organization, it's problem solving approach (ex. different aspects of water pollution, like cyanotoxins et al).

About youth focused work. 

  1. Are the GWP CEE youth activities covering your country enough? 

    We could be more engaged, it is a question of human resources. Covid also did not help, kids stayed out of school…

    Not aware of any youth focused activities, but we like and very much appreciate GWP CEE leadership in Danube Contest for kids.

  2. In your opinion, which youth initiative that GWP CEE does is the most influential (e.g., DAM, youth-oriented symposiums, summer school...) and why? 

    We believe DAM and Summer School as these are actually on-going activities.

  3. How do you see the role of youth in the current water management? 

    We're glad to see them engaging more. The past referendum on Water Act in Slovenia has mobilised young environmentalists. The Slovenian CWP worked with them a lot. What GWP in Slovenia will strive for is a more inclusive water management, also for the benefit of youth. Currently they participate through engineering careers or NGOs.