Capacity Building Workshop on Partnerships for Improving the Performance of Water Utilities in the African Region

6-8 December 2006 | Nairobi, Kenya

December 2006

Summary report

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11 December 2006

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The Capacity Building Workshop on Partnerships for Improving the Performance of Water Utilities in the Africa Region was held from 6-8 December 2006 at the UN Office in Nairobi, Kenya. It was organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) and the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-HABITAT). Attended by more than 90 senior water experts representing governmental and inter-governmental organizations and the private sector from over 36 countries, the workshop focused on contributing towards the implementation of the global water and sanitation agenda by strengthening the capacities of water utilities in meeting the dual challenge of service expansion and efficient delivery of services. The workshop’s objectives were to help public water utility managers to acquire further expertise in numerous issues, including: implementing institutional and policy reforms; strengthening institutional governance and accountability; formulating capacity building plans for the public utilities; and developing and administering partnerships among water operators.

The workshop was organized into four sessions that addressed ways to enable public utilities to become more efficient.

On Wednesday morning, participants heard welcoming and introductory speeches followed by opening addresses delivered by Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT Executive Director, and M. Aslam Chaudhry, UN-DESA. During the day, two sessions were held on managing water and sanitation services in urban areas and strengthening institutional governance and accountability. Participants discussed: meeting water and sanitation needs in Africa; providing water for African cities; elaborating a policy framework for small-scale water providers in Africa; examining current trends in regulating public water utilities in Africa; discussing institutional frameworks for improving the performance of water operators; debating contractualization and how to improve accountability of public utilities; promoting partnerships with workers; reforming public water operations; improving performance; harnessing water losses in urban water supply systems; and monitoring global water policy.

On Thursday morning, the third session on financing water and sanitation services took place and participants addressed a number of issues, including: financing water for all; experiences in financing municipal water services; financing mechanisms and reforms to leverage local resources; water tariffs and subsidies in Africa; and community financing schemes as instruments to facilitate access to water and sanitation services for the urban poor.

On Thursday afternoon, the fourth session addressed the implications of promoting partnerships among water operators, including: the Water Operators Partnership (WOP); the role of the International Water Association (IWA) in supporting WOP; and regional experiences in implementing WOP.

On Friday morning, participants were divided into three parallel working groups to consider capacity building needs of public water utilities in Africa, benchmarking of utilities for performance improvement, and sharing experiences in managing water utilities. On Friday afternoon, participants heard reports on the working groups’ outcomes and closing remarks. More information.

Relevant Links

Workshop Agenda
Workshop website

IISD RS Resources
IISD RS coverage of the Fourteenth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-14), 1-12 May 2006, UN headquarters, New York
IISD RS coverage of the Side Events at the Fourteenth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-14), 1-12 May 2006, UN headquarters, New York
IISD RS coverage of the Thirteenth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-13), 11-22 April 2005, United Nations Headquarters in New York
IISD RS coverage of the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting (IPM) for the thirteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-13), 8 February - 4 March 2005, United Nations Headquarters, New York
IISD RS coverage of the Twelfth Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-12), 14-30 April 2004, United Nations Headquarters, New York
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