The year 2022 Regional Days which held in Stockholm (hybrid) was an energiser for the GWP Community emerging from the pandemic. The annual meeting was held online for the last two years (2020 and 2021) by adhering to the COVID 19 regulations, and this was the first ever physical meeting held after the pandemic with the participation of all the Regional Chairs, Regional Coordinators, Regional Communications Officers, Regional programme managers and GWP Global Secretariat staff. Still few regions were unable attend the meeting in-person due to some unavoidable circumstances and participated the meeting online. The Regional Coordinator and Communications Coordinator from GWP SAS participated the meeting in-person whereas the Chair attended the meeting online.
The first day, 22 May was dedicated to the Annual Communications Officer’s meeting, 23 and 24 for the Regional Days and the second half of the 25th was allocated for the Network Meeting. The Regional Days was officially concluded on 25 May with a plenary session attended by all the participants. The meeting was organised with the aim of advancing the 3-year work programming exercise (2023-2025). The objectives were to build on learnings from the current strategy period, to converge on level of ambition for/scope of 2023-2025 Work programmes and to discuss coherence of Regional Work Programmes.
The Comms Officers meeting was held on Sunday, 22 May. The discussions were focused on the upcoming GWP Network Meeting 2022, planned for 25 May where the majority of Comms Officers were involved in planning. The next priority was the regional learning exchange session where all the regional comms officers introduced one activity of their region that they have engaged and chosen as worth of sharing with the colleagues. Few of the Comms Officers have introduced the impressive communication materials that they have produced on community water issues, key projects undertaken at the country level and for SDG 6.5.1 reporting cycle conducted in 2020. Another few of them have discussed about an online course organsied for regional youth and a series of webinars conducted engaging private sector. Intensive visibility and outreach carried out for three core events held at the regional level was explained by the next Comms Officer whereas GWP SAS explained about their long journey on developing the Youth and Young Water Professionals’ Platform (YYPP) South Asia which is prepared to be launched immediately.
The Regional Days was started on Monday, 23 May with the introduction to the newly joined members from the Regions as well as at GWPO level. The sessions started with a round of reflection from both global and regional level on where we are in GWP Strategy 2020-2025. There were exclusive sessions on gender inclusion in GWP, reporting back from regional taskforce on CWP Strengthening, RWP Sustainability and RWP Hosting and financial management. How is GWP contributing to global processes was discussed at the global landscape session which was followed by the poster session with a focus on regional and global programmes where regions displayed three regional highlights of 2021. The Regional Coordinator presented the three highlights of SAS which includes long journey to success on GCF Readiness Proposal, development of Regional Synthesis report on SDG 6.5.1 (IWRM) implementation in collaboration with South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP) & UNEP DHI Center and the evolution of South Asia Young and Youth Professional Platform (YYPP) and its way forward. There was a dedicated session for Knowledge, Learning and Capturing impact of GWP’s innovations and achievements where newly introduced communications tools including, MELK tools, Toolbox and GWP Hub and techniques were discussed. Fishbowl discussion on “how do we see GWPO in 2025?” was an interesting discussion with an informative role play and hot seat discussions where the panelists were selected by the participants of the Regional Days.
This year’s Regional Days meeting has displayed that investing in strategic in-person meetings is critically important for helping the staff in this widely dispersed institution, to coordinate with one another and to plan ahead, especially in the midst of so much change. The meeting facilitated networking, building relationships especially with the newly joined members and strategising the regional programmes in line with the global. The bi-lateral meetings held during coffee breaks, meals and after sessions have allowed information sharing and learning from each other.
The second half of 25 May was dedicated to the GWP Network Meeting 2022: boosting innovation towards a water secure world. As the world faces the challenges of climate change, population growth, and urbanization, GWP wanted to hear the voices of its Partners during the event on “how can we as a Team can push innovation in water?”. Unlikely to the period of pandemic, GWP was able to meet its partners at one given time in 2022 during the hybrid meeting where the staff who attended the Regional Days have attended in person and the rest online. There were more than 320 participants joined the meeting from 95 countries. There were also viewers and participants who joined the meeting via Facebook which was broadcasted live.
The Network Meeting participants were directed to five breakout sessions as per their preference, to talk with regional and global GWP focal points and other GWP Partners about how to implement and spread innovative practices in the water sector. The goal was to get actionable recommendations to GWP leadership. The sessions were named as climate resilience through water, mobilising youth for water resources management, water solutions for the SDGs, innovations and communications for social change and water innovation. There were recommendations from Partners such as, GWP need a robust mechanism to encourage private sector engagement for climate financing and there is an urgency for youth mobilisation in water related decision making beyond lip service. The Partners reminded GWP’s potential as a convener of multistakeholder engagement for SDG data collection, formulation and sharing. In the session on innovation, participants highlighted that the innovations are exist, but they are not being systematically categorised and catalogued or not been supported to move forward. The attendees of the communications for social change session highlighted the need for understand its target groups in designing communication tools and since communication is a two-way process it is important GWP to solicit Partner feedback more regularly. The Network Meeting adjoined with a plenary session with an interactive dialog with GWP’s Executive Secretary and CEO Darío Soto-Abril, GWP Chair Howard Bamsey, GWP’s Technical Committee Chair, Jaehyang So and Pablo Bereciartua, Steering Committee member and Lead of GWP’s Innovation Group. Bringing the meeting to a close, the Executive Secretary reiterated that the diversity of the Network is the GWP’s greatest strengths that could be utilised to boost innovation towards a water secure world.