“Footprints of GWP South Asia: from Dr Motadullah's eyes” – the first Executive Secretary of GWP

Born in 1938, at age 84 Dr Motadullah is still fond of reminding the happy memories that he had with GWP as the first Executive Secretary and engaging in establishing Regional and Country Water Partnerships around the world during the inception of the network. He preferred to conduct his value addition come from the perceptive of GWPO as he was heading

Remind us about the beginning of GWP

GWP came into being in 1996 and obviously the Regional and Country Water Partnerships (CWP) established later on. The initial idea was the GWP to be to remain as a small global network organisation and not have outreach it to the regions and countries. Dr Motadullah’s stand was completely different to this, and he kept on highlighting the value of GWP’s presence on the ground if it needs to play and effective value addition to the rest of the global organisations which are working and competing with each other in the water sector. He insisted unless GWP strategically place themselves where the problems exist and get access to the those issues, GWP would remain as just another organisation which could not add more value to solve these problems. There were lot of opposition towards the suggested expansion. Eventually the in-depth discussions have loosen these strong ties and paved the way for Dr Motadullah to the consensus for introducing Regional Water Partnerships (RWP). In addition, the 2nd World Water Forum held in the Hague in March 2000 with the theme "From Vision to Action" has insisted the organisations in the water sector to come up with frameworks and action plans to implement the agenda 21 was thought provoking for GWP and shown the necessity to expand the network further to the country level.

“It was exiting that South Asia was the first region to went down to establish Country Water Partnerships and later on the Area Water Partnerships (AWPs)” he said. “When we look back, going more local was a turning point for GWP. The ground presence, operative where the water scarcity is mostly felt and supporting communities who live with these challenges are the organisation’s distinguished features” 

Dr Khalid Motadullah was the first Executive Secretary of GWP

Dr Motadullah served at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) as the Director Research and Deputy Director General from 1989 to 1995. The Government of Pakistan claimed him to return to the motherland and appointed him as a Member and Managing Director of Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) since his return to the country in 1995 to 1998. WAPDA was the ultimate institution of the government of Pakistan for generation, transmission and distribution of power; Irrigation, water supply and drainage; Prevention of waterlogging and reclamation of waterlogged and saline lands; and Flood control. In the meantime, he also played consultancy roles for various United Nations Organisations. As soon as his retirement as a Senior Government Official in the Government of Pakistan, he received an invitation from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) as one of the candidates of the Executive Secretary position of the for the newly develop global water network named Global Water Partnership. Prior to confirming his participation for the interview, he had to obtain clearance from his government and most importantly he consulted his family. With the blessings of all the parties, he attended the interview held in London and joined GWP as the first appointed full time Executive Secretary of GWP from 1998. The initial appointment was a two-year term that ended in 2000 and he received another year extension until 2001. Dr Khalid settled down in Stockholm, Sweden for these years and committed himself for the growth of the network

“The most remarkable achievement during my time was establishment of more than sixty Country Water Partnerships (CWPs) around the world. We have travelled more than million miles vising Presidents, Prime Ministers and Ministers of Water in negotiating the presence of GWP in the respective nations and establishing partnerships to strengthen the network. The whole idea was to get these country chapters in place aim including the Partners to GWP to liaise and provide support to the stakeholders for improved management of water resources” he said.

He further explained that establishing CWPs was a challenging task mainly as a newly established international organisation. Initially majority of the governments have declined the idea indicating they could manage the processors alone. Eventually after intensive interaction and discussions took place between the GWP Team and the heads of the governments, the assurance was bridged as they have seen GWP could bring additionality to their knowledge base and perspectives. It is an opportunity for them to deal with outside of their own frameworks and the governments recognised GWP as a platform to exchange information and have foreseen the advantage of benefiting from each other in water resources management. It resulted the countries put forward their willingness to have GWP’s presence locally.