Photo Credit: Lorraine Schilling, WaterLex: Amanda Loeffen, WaterLex: “You’re ultimately trying to reach a goal, sustainable water management and governance. The solution is to set up transitional agreements that take on the challenge bit by bit.”
The Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP) organised a professional seminar 2-3 June 2016 on the theme “Water Security: Enhancing Multi-stakeholder Partnerships”, where WaterLex General Manager Amanda Loeffen gave a presentation on key conditions for successful multi-stakeholder initiatives during day one. Ms Loeffen also facilitated a workshop on Public-Private Partnerships in cooperative approaches to water security on day two of the seminar.
Multi-stakeholder initiatives are crucial in ensuring cooperation and thus water security, by bringing together representatives of the government, private and public sector, civil society organisations and academia. WaterLex can act as facilitator for multi-stakeholder initiatives, being a neutral organization that does not represent a particular stakeholder group.
Ms Loeffen pointed out six key conditions for the success of those initiatives:
- National focus: while there are many international initiatives, there is need for more local cooperation mechanisms. Water issues need to be dealt with at local, watershed level.
- National drive: the implementation of the SDGs needs to be driven by a national will, where national institutions and organisations are part of the cooperation. This has been acknowledged in the Paris Principles on aid effectiveness.
- Neutral and legitimate convening institution: a national institution applying the principles of neutrality, independence, public interest and inclusiveness is fundamental to facilitate the discussions between public institutions, the government, and civil society. National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) can be key players in this regard.
- Balanced representation: the initiatives must include public, private and civil society groups in balanced representation.
- Law enforcement: monitoring should be put in place to track changes and improvements, to ensure an evidence-based policy design of the SDG6 implementation plan.
- Monitoring support and solutions design: those initiatives can act as support to UN agencies for monitoring the realisation of SDG6 and can also help design solutions to identified local challenges.
Ms Loeffen then suggested that a way to ensure compliance with SDG6 is to set up a regional transitional legal framework. Access to water and sanitation is a right that cannot be immediately realised. Therefore, governments can use the transitional legal framework over the long term as a guide to draft laws and policies at national level, making sure to work toward full compliance with SDG6, by making a new legal commitment and setting up monitoring mechanisms.
On day two of the seminar, Ms Loeffen facilitated a workshop on “Public-Private Partnerships in cooperative approaches to water security”. Other WaterLex staff members attended GCSP’s additional workshops on the themes “Water Management and Trans-border Cooperation” and “Water, Commodities and Food Security”. Attendees were encouraged to give their opinion and share their expertise on the subjects discussed and recommendations were made to the full audience at the end of the workshops.