Accelerating Change to Solve Water and Sanitation Crisis

Every 22 March, the world celebrates World Water Day with this year theme focus on “Accelerating Change to Solve Water and Sanitation Crisis”. Since water affects us all, we have to response with immediate action, as access to clean and safe water and basic sanitation consider human rights, yet large part of the world population still does not have access to it.

With the launch of the Water Action Agenda during the UN 2023 Water Conference, Global Water Partnership Southeast Asia (GWP-SEA) seeks to collaborate with wider stakeholders through the Integrated Water Security Open Program (Open Program). The program acts as a platform that aims to snapshot the present situation, allowing engagement and coordination mechanisms. In other words, the platform will help to align the future action from wider stakeholders consisting of governments, NGOs, private sectors, and research institutions/ universities, after learning from the past or present initiatives. The Open Program hold the same spirit as this year's World Water Day theme, accelerating the change through collaboration toward the 2030 agenda.

Accelerating the change, especially in the water sector is very challenging. Many stakeholders are still managing water in silos, resulting in duplication and conflict between actions. Thus, challenging to perceive the need for investment and to develop action plans at different levels of government.

The Open Program promote actions and investments alignment, thus allowing the prioritization of actions and collaboration based on the project objectives, combined with the geographical features of the platform. The platform will also inform the decision-makers or push them to acknowledge the works that have been done by either private sectors or other entities outside the government's system, promoting accountability and fostering collaboration and political commitment, thus improving water governance. The open program provides space for knowledge sharing through a community of practice, funding opportunity and realignment of actions through the following components: water security open platform and water security support facility. To register an action, anyone can access the following page:

The Integrated Water Security Open Program (IWSOP) will assist in prioritizing and targeting actions to mobilize water investments across the region. It will enable this through the tracking of the progress of actions to identify bottlenecks to guide action and to narrow the water investment gap where they exist. It will also mobilize political leadership and commitment to accelerating action and financing of water investments and promote accountability. The IWSOP will strengthen partnerships, foster collaboration and knowledge sharing, changes in practices and the realignment of actions towards a more strategic approach for improved water governance through its two components, including Water Security Open Platform, and Water Security Support Facility.

Water and Sanitation Hygiene E-Survey, is another innovation that has been developed and improved by GWP-SEA, allowing census-based data collection with geo-tagging information and some photos. The apps allow a paperless survey and when connected to the internet, the information can be transferred and analyzed immediately through the portal. The E-Survey was previously utilized by the local government in the West Sumatra Province through collaboration with the Ministry of National Development Planning Republic of Indonesia (BAPPENAS), and recently improved and utilized for the collaboration project with the Singapore-based GWP-SEA’s partner, Safe Water Gardens to improve basic Sanitation access in the Bintan Island, Indonesia. As a partnership organization, GWP-SEA is keen to cooperate with the GWP partner and also collaborate with any entity who is working in the Water sector such as by utilizing the innovative solutions for Sustainable development webinar series. Believing in the value of partnership and collaboration is the core business of GWP networks, which is aligned with the Water Day 2023 theme.

Sharing the same spirit, the United Nations World Water Development Report 2023 on “Partnerships and Cooperation for Water” was just published to commemorate World Water Day. The report explores the topic of partnership and collaboration across regions across the theme of agriculture, environment, human settlements, industry, health, and climate change. The report recommends that decision-makers speed up and scale up the change through capacity development, data, information, innovation, financing, and governance. The report can be downloaded through the following link. (AW)