Celebrating 25 years of catalyzing change in water resource management

GWP’s 25th anniversary celebrations were one of the main features of the 2021 Annual GWP Network meeting held virtually on 1 and 2 December 2021, under the theme “Leading Change and Innovation through our Partners”.

In his opening remarks during the Network Meeting, GWP Chair Mr Howard Bamsey appreciated the GWP donors for supporting GWP’s work over the years.

  GWP Chair Mr Howard Bamsey delivering his opening remarks

I would like to acknowledge all donors for the support they have given to GWP and the network in the cause of improving water management to move towards a water-secure world’, he said. “Donors have been vital for 25 years ago when we started, and they remain vital now and, in the future”.

He emphasized the importance of deliberate collaboration with organisations with the same and similar causes to GWP’s, as a means of raising the voice of water high, especially in the face of climate change where water forms a core part of the global response.

Network meeting format

Unlike previous events which had region-specific sessions, this year’s network meeting was open to partners in all regions spread over 2 days. The Network Meeting 2021 consisted of 5 main sessions run over 2 days, three of them being the same on both days.

GWPSA at the Network Meeting

GWPSA co-hosted the session “Investing for change: Water & Climate Financing” on both days. The session gave insights on how GWP is enabling countries to access climate finance, progress made in the first 2 years of the strategy, and GWP’s targets for 2022.

In opening the climate session, GWPSA Executive Secretary and Global Head of Climate, Mr Alex Simalabwi unpacked the GWP climate resilience priorities for the GWP Strategy period 2020-2025.

 Mr Alex Simalabwi opening the climate session

“For the period 2020-2025 GWP Climate Resilience Target set out to advance national adaptation planning, facilitate climate finance, and support integrated resilience planning”, said Mr Simalabwi. “The Target aims to support at least 30 countries to access climate finance for water-informed National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and integrated flood and drought management policies and measures during its six-year tenure”. 

During the period 2020-2021, 17 countries out of the targeted 30 countries have been supported to access climate finance,  and the GWP climate resilience Programme has influenced investments worth €330M out of the €1 billion target for 2025. This year,  €2 million readiness funds were mobilised for Somalia, Sri Lanka and Eswatini.

The session featured GWP’s experiences, opportunities, challenges, and lessons in supporting countries to access climate finance, using a case study of the Zambia National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Project, presented by Kidanemariam Jembere. The project is being implemented in Zambia, through a grant of USD 2 million from the Green Climate Fund (GCF)’s Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme (the Readiness Programme).

 Kidanemariam Jembere – GWPSA Technical Advisor presenting the case of Zambia.

 “GWPSA supported the Zambian Government from the preparations prior to the NAP proposal, right through the development of the proposal and we are still supporting the project in terms of overall implementation, management and reporting ”, said Kidanemariam. 

Key to the success of the collaboration is GWPs' track record, its strong relationship with key mandated institutions, as well as GWPSA capability in terms of technical knowledge and skills.

The climate session closed by recommending further strengthening of sharing experiences and lessons of what GWP is doing along the lines of supporting countries to access climate finance. Continuous learning through capturing lessons throughout the implementation of newly approved projects was also recommended.

 In his closing remarks, GWP’s Executive Secretary, Mr Dario Soto-Abril, attributed GWP’s’ successful implementation of the second year of the 2020-2025 Strategy to the long-standing relationship that GWP has with its partners, key regional, and country stakeholders.

 “I am grateful to our partners, whose support has allowed GWP to remain relevant and influential in water resources management”, he said. “GWP’s impact will only be achieved through continuous collaboration with our partners”.

He added GWP will continue working to strengthen Country and Regional Water Partnerships as well as provide vital support to institutions mandated for water resources management, through mobilizing partnerships, generating, and communicating knowledge and catalyzing change in policies and practice.

The 2021 Network Meeting featured the relaunch and virtual tour of the new redesigned GWP IWRM ToolBox, one of the world’s first free online repositories on IWRM.  The knowledge platform supports actors to implement IWRM, share knowledge and expertise about their implementation experiences, and bring relevant stakeholders together to improve the way water is managed around the world.

The 2021 Network Meeting  was attended by more than 470 participants, from 73 countries in GWP’s 13 regions.