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The Global Water Partnership (GWP)

Publié : Janvier 2012

The Global Water Partnership was set up in 1996. It is an international network open to all organisations involved in managing water resources. GWP is the only international discussion body bringing together all water stakeholders and all water sectors. A "network of networks", it enables those concerned to really coordinate their water development cooperation operations on an informal basis. This way new partnerships develop on issues of common concern. 
Gwp’s objectives are to 
  • clearly establish the principles of sustainable water resource management ; 
  • identify gaps and stimulate its partners to meet critical needs within their available human and financial resources ; 
  • support action at local, national, regional or river-basin level that apply the principles of sustainable water resources management ; 
  • help match means to available resources, and 
  • strengthen the means of exchanging information and experiences. 
GWP works towards these objectives in two ways : through its associated programmes, which carry out different theme-based water resource management actions, and through regional groups. The regional groups enable it to develop its regional and local activities. GWP is a strategic body for monitoring trends in the water sector worldwide, and for facilitating implementation of local cooperation operations. France has supported GWP since its inception, providing staff, expertise and financing. 
On the strength of its experience, in the light of its analyses and in the spirit of its commitments, France concentrates its development cooperation activities in fields where its actions are known, recognised and generate added value. These fields include institutional support for water resource management, water and agriculture, the connections between health, environment and development, and questions of training, information and documentation. Most French development cooperation work is focused on the "priority solidarity zone" defined by the Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development (CICID), which is chaired by the Prime Minister. Over 90% (in financial terms) of France’s official development aid for water-related matters goes to countries in this zone. 
To answer its partners’ many questions, fulfil its international commitments and apply the strategy it has defined for this purpose, France can count on a varied body of experts capable of operating either locally or internationally. It uses the complementary expertise of local authorities, professional bodies, NGOs, research centres, universities, consultancy firms, independent experts, manufacturers, private firms and corporations, technical assistants, international cooperation volunteers, networks of the cultural action and cooperation services, economic expansion units, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and various ministries. It has developed financial instruments for this kind of purpose, such as the foreign ministry’s Priority Solidarity Fund, the AFD’s low-interest loans, the finance and economy ministry’s emerging countries reserve, and the French Fund for World Environment (FFEM). 
Participation, concerted action and transferring responsibility are the keys to an approach that is more constructive and effective for confronting the great challenge of water in development policy. Integrated management of water resources towards truly sustainable development means acting on several aspects : united resources, taking account of both quantitative and qualitative aspects of water, proper balance between different uses, demand-based management. Considerable effort needs to be made to promote this kind of management. It means defining a suitable institutional framework, building up capacities, developing knowledge, organising efficiently, ensuring active participation of all stakeholders, experimenting, thoroughly reflecting on and debating the issues, and ensuring good coordination among the various operations under way. 
In a word, France is very active internationally in water related matters. It seeks to combine ambitious goals, pragmatism and equity. Aspects France means to develop further are applied research ; education towards a "water culture" ; the focus on medium sized towns whose very fast -growing populations do not have access to water under good conditions ; capitalisation and wide dissemination of results achieved ; and publicizing its actions among the public at large. All these efforts must concern all elements in the water cycle and all uses of water. They must be conducted in a concerted, coordinated, coherent fashion with our development partners. The stakes are so high that there is no other option but to cooperate willingly, pragmatically and with ambitious goals.