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Improving financing for water management Until recently, financing was not a priority for most water professionals and officials. It was rare for events on water management to consider finance. Water plans often did not show where the money would come from, how they would be paid for or who would pay for them. Thinking on financing was limited to stand-alone projects or aid. It was as if finance was somebody else's problem. The GWP message has been clear: finance and good water governance are inextricably linked. Things have changed. Finance is now an essential topic in water management circles. Many publications, conferences and workshops address water financing. GWP has influenced these changes, deploying its strengths – knowledge generation, change processes and partnering with a range of actors – to make those involved in water realise that financing is not just about funding projects. GWP articulated the message that finance and good water governance are inextricably linked. National integrated water resource and water efficiency plans must be part of national development plans in order to access government and donor finance.
Advocating at the global level The change process started in 2000 at the 2nd World Water Forum where investing in water was one of five key agenda items. The GWP paper, Towards Water Security: A Framework for Action, highlighted the link between good water governance and financing, and estimated that financing needed to double to US$180 billion a year. The new focus on financing allowed GWP, together with the World Water Council (WWC) and organisers of the 3rd World Water Forum, to set up a high-level panel on Financing Water for All, chaired by Michel Camdessus, a former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. The Camdessus Report, launched at the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto in 2003, sparked a plethora of studies, actions and debates, and encouraged international financial institutions – the World Bank, the Asian and African Development Banks – to extend their financing for water. The Task Force convened by GWP and WWC to continue this momentum, chaired by Angel Gurría, former Finance Minister of Mexico, focused on the demand side. Mr Gurría now continues to promote water financing as Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a lead player and key GWP Partner. Another member of the Task Force, GWP former chair and patron Margaret Catley-Carlson, chairs the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Agenda Council on Water Security, working with major international corporations to help them invest in improving water security. In parallel, the GWP Technical Committee continued to generate knowledge to support advocacy for better financing, producing two influential Background Papers. These informed an OECD and European Union Water Initiative-Finance Working Group (EUWI-FWG) programme focussing on financing water resources management as a way of dealing with threats to water security from resource depletion, pollution and climate change.
Uptake at the country level Engagement at the global level is only of value if it helps to underpin uptake at country level. GWP can work locally and appropriately, and get positive and sustained results on the ground.
Global Water Partnership Annual Report