The 41st Regional Steering Committee Meeting

On Friday, 11 August 2023 the Regional Steering Committee meeting was held. 16 persons was involved in the discussion representing Regional Water Partnership, Country Water Partnerships, and GWP Organisation represented by a Senior Network Officer for Caribbean and Southeast Asia.

The Regional Steering Committee (RSC) meeting is held twice a year. The 1st RSC meeting this year or the 41st edition was held online on Friday 11 August 2023. The meeting was held to follow up on the implementation of the annual work plan 2023 that was agreed upon during the last RSC meeting in Vang Vien, Lao PDR (2022). Apart from discussing the progress of the core activity from both the regional secretariat and the country water partnerships, another important agenda was discussed resource mobilisation and the next RSC meeting that is planned to be held back-to-back with the Regional IWRM Conference.

The meeting started with an opening remark from Dr. Inthavy Akkharat, the outgoing chairman who conveyed a message on the importance of having a creative and innovative program at both a regional and country level and being ready to improve its capacity for fundraising. Mr. Inthavy ended his speech by introducing and welcoming the incoming chairman Mr. Christopher Ilagan then handed over the role of moderator to him to deliver introductory remarks.

As the new chairman, Mr. Chris mentioned that GWP-SEA has accomplished quite a lot on IWRM. For the past 3 years, GWP-SEA has completed the multi-stakeholder position paper, IWRM action plan, and Integrated Water Security Open Program (Open Program). However, GWP-SEA seems not to be getting notice of the work that they have been doing. Thus, GWP-SEA needs to raise its profile on the water security agenda. Therefore, the role of communication at the regional and country level becoming crucial. Secondly, he encouraged the regional and country water partnerships to discuss and implement a new business model and strategic direction for the next 3 years, so we do not have to rely on seed funding from the GWP Organization (GWPO/Stockholm).

On the topic of resource mobilisation, the Regional Secretariat has working on several fundraising opportunities. The water Scarcity Program in Indonesia will be started on 21 August 2023, thus securing funds from the FAO Regional Office of Asia and the Pacific Region.  The regional Drought project in Cambodia and Lao PDR is currently still in negotiation with WMO. The Regional Secretariat has completed its first collaboration with Safe Water Gardens for the WASH project in Bintan Island, Indonesia. The project utilized GWP-SEA’s e-survey as it helped with data collection, and the decision-makers at the village level, local agencies and Regent can monitor and update the data from time to time. Lastly, on the Green Climate Fund proposal, we just received a suggestion to tweak our regional proposal to be implemented at a country level for a quick win, thus further discussion with Country Water Partnership is needed.

On the topic of GWP-SEA core activities, the discussion centres on the implementation of the Regional IWRM Conference. The conference is planned to be held back-to-back with the 2nd Stakeholders Consultation Meeting of the World Water Forum 2024 and started with the 42nd Regional Steering Committee in Bali, Indonesia in October 2023 a couple of days earlier. (AW)