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Going Further Hand in Hand: Launching the OGP Water and Sanitation Community of Practice

Ir más lejos, juntos: Presentación de la comunidad de práctica de agua y saneamiento de OGP

Pilar Avello|

Next week, more than 3,500 people from around the globe will gather in Stockholm, Sweden for World Water Week. During that time, experts, practitioners, decision-makers, business innovators and young professionals will discuss ideas, advance new thinking, and develop solutions to the most pressing water-related challenges of today. This year’s theme, “Water for Society, including all” highlights the impact of those challenges on the most vulnerable, who are likely to suffer from them the most. Water governance is key to reversing power imbalances but only if the principles of transparency, accountability, and inclusion – a priority for the Open Government Partnership as reflected in their Break the Roles campaign –  are respected and designed to include everyone’s needs.

But solutions need to be implemented, otherwise nothing changes. Some years ago, several organizations (SIWI, WRI, WIN, and Fundación Avina) saw the opportunity of linking water solutions into the OGP process.   OGP action plans are co-created by governments and civil society, with concrete steps – commitments – across a broad range of issues: one of them is the delivery of water and sanitation services.

However, even if this same conversation is happening among water practitioners, many countries still don’t include water or sanitation commitments in their action plans, mainly because of a lack of knowledge and understanding of this great opportunity. But some others have. In fact, 35 countries have established 53 water-related commitments since 2011, so there is undoubtedly much to learn. It’s worth asking ourselves what the elements for success during all phases of the OGP process are and which commitments trigger bigger water reforms for the benefit of the people. To answer these questions, we decided to create a Water and Sanitation Community of Practice (Water and Open Government CoP) within the framework of the Open Government Partnership. The Water and Open Government CoP seeks to strengthen the linkages between both water and open government reformers and the human right to water and sanitation. To achieve this, governments can prioritize the water sector by establishing water commitments in their national action plans so that citizens are able to hold their governments accountable and demand more sustainable, inclusive, transparent, and fair actions in water and sanitation service delivery. It is this citizen and peer accountability mechanism at the local, national, and international level that can help advance water reforms.

But how do we do it? Building on the experience of countries like Mexico, Chile or Uruguay and thanks to the OGP Multi-Donor Trust Fund supported by the World Bank and other donors, the Water and Open Government CoP will begin making this ambition a reality. 

In the next two years, we will develop knowledge products, case studies, and guidance materials to enhance the understanding of both government officials and civil society organizations in linking both the water and open government agendas.  We will also organize several learning events to increase data sharing, lessons learned, technical expertise, good practice, and peer learning to boost the development and implementation of more ambitious and transformative commitments. We aim to raise awareness about these issues and strengthen international and national coalitions to effectively use the OGP platform to push for water reforms.

We certainly know the path; now it’s time to start walking it. As the proverb says “If you want to go fast, go alone; If you want to go far, go together”.  If you are a water champion and have interest in the OGP process, we want to meet you! At World Water Week, the Water and Open Government CoP will present their plan for the next two years. Come and join us on Tuesday, August 27th at 5:30pm for the “Water and Open Government Mingle” at the SIWI booth or reach out to us at

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