The Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030: potential for AquaFed and Private Water Operators to Contribute

Posted: Monday 5th October 2015

On the 14th and 15th of September 2015, AquaFed (the International Federation of Private Water Operators) organised a seminar to mark the Federation’s 10th anniversary.

The event was organised in the context of the conclusion of the international negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). The “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” should be ratified by the UN general assembly during a special summit between the 25th and 27th of September in New York.

The AquaFed’s event provided the opportunity to bring together representatives from the public sector, private sector and civil society coming from Africa, the Americas and throughout Europe.

Mamadou Dia, the President of AquaFed set the tone by stating “the Sustainable Development Goals for water and sanitation can only be reached by 2030 if there is a perfect synergy between the different stakeholders all working together to improve the access to water and sanitation to people throughout the world.”

The rich discussion with panellists and the participants delivered strong messages about the potential to create effective partnerships to ensure sustainable societies in the future that included:

· The necessity to recognise the respective roles of consumers, governments, civil society and professional service operators and to coordinate the actions of each of these actors in order to deliver drinking water to everybody in ways that overcome major obstacles.

· The requirement to set up policies and rules for transparency, monitoring and open exchange of information in systems of good water governance.

· The recognition that access to water and sanitation are at the heart of sustainable development so it is necessary to engage all stakeholders: women and men in the field, governments, the public and private sectors.

· The opportunities to be seized to recognise and to mobilize the talents of women (half the world’s human resource) in all aspects of water operations.

· The need to make the real value of water apparent and embrace realistic approaches to water economics that constitute an essential element of financing water services.

· The requirement to recognise and apply an integrated approach to planning and managing the benefits and risks of water resources and water services.

· The significance of the essential roles that monitoring and reporting progress and the communication of results play in achieving ambitious objectives.

· The recognition that in conditions of rapid urbanisation, peri-urban areas are particularly impacted by the lack of access to drinking water and sanitation and therefore need special attention.

Over the last 10 years, AquaFed has contributed considerably to promoting multi-partner cooperation in the field of water. The Federation stresses the priority needs of satisfying water users and meeting the expectations of modern societies.

AquaFed has systematically encouraged the inclusion of a sustainable development goal for water. The water goal (Goal 6) and its targets and indicators, represents a real breakthrough in placing water management centre stage in achieving all three dimensions of sustainable development (Society, Economy and Environment) and the eradication of poverty worldwide.

This Goal gives full political recognition to the important role that water plays in its many dimensions to underpin, support and enable the long term sustainable development of sustainable, healthy and vibrant societies in all continents.

The parties at the meeting agreed that, in a world where all stakeholders must be involved, there is a clear role for private operators to play and a high expectation of them in the realisation of the United Nations vision for a sustainable world without poverty and in which no one is left behind.

Having been a strong advocate of the “full water cycle approach” to the water SDG, AquaFed has strong expectations for its members to contribute to its realisation and to providing better services to the billions of people in the world today, that do not benefit from the access to, or quality of, water and sanitation services they are entitled to expect.

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