Ania Grobicki is the Executive Secretary for the Global Water Partnership (GWP), an international organization that seeks to build water security at all levels through its network of over 2,300 partner organizations around the world. Dr. Grobicki discusses GWP's ongoing engagement with UN-Water in global policy processes and at country and regional level.
How is GWP currently working with UN-Water?
There are two central ways in which the Global Water Partnership and UN-Water are working together. The first is to coordinate our actions within global policy processes. For example, over the past year we have been collaborating with UN-Water to develop key policy messages, organize events and distribute materials on the importance of water issues to climate change adaptation. Here we share a common message: intelligent water management is fundamental to adapt to the changes in water availability that result from a less predictable and more extreme climate. As an accredited member in the UNFCCC process, we have been able to work with UN bodies and other international organizations to raise the profile of water issues within the climate discussions.
Secondly, we also work closely with UN-Water at the regional, national and local levels. GWP has a strong network within its Country Water Partnerships, which we leverage to support UN-Water's country-level programs. Our country networks, which include organizations within government, NGOs, academia, the media, financial institutions and the private sector, offer an invaluable link between government bodies and the host of other actors involved in the development process. This allows us to have a powerful influence on water decision-making and assist our UN partners to synchronize their activities with others acting at the regional, national, and local levels.
Many in the water community claim that progress to mainstream IWRM within national planning frameworks is slow. How could the international water community accelerate the uptake of IWRM worldwide?
We have seen progress over the years: Many national governments have committed to developing plans for IWRM and a number of those countries have taken the next step to actually implement new integrated management frameworks. For IWRM policies to be successfully put into practice, however, it is not enough to only work with the planning processes done by the water managers. As sectoral competition for water resources escalates, the challenge, and the opportunity, to connect with those from other sectors who use and manage water for their own purposes becomes even more critical.
For GWP, this is why it is exciting to partner with UN-Water. The value of UN-Water is that each institution is structured to do entirely different things and mandated to work in separate focus areas, namely agriculture (FAO), health (WHO), industry (UNIDO), and a range of other sectors. This provides all UN-Water members with a tremendous opportunity to work through their own organizations to ensure that water in each sector can be managed better for the benefit of people and the environment.