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New Year message from SWA's Executive Chair

21 Dec 2017

By Catarina de Albuquerque, SWA Executive Chair

As we approach the end of 2017, I am pleased to present a little of what we have achieved this year, and what we are looking forward to in 2018. Our High-level Meetings hosted by the World Bank in Washington DC were, as always, a highlight. Quite beyond the discussions between finance ministers, sector ministers and other SWA partners, we had some high-profile guests to open our sessions, including the President of the World Bank, the UN-Deputy Secretary-General and the film-star and philanthropist Matt Damon.

We are really making an impact on the world stage, not only in persuading countries and finance institutions to invest more and better in water and sanitation – SWA is increasingly invited to participate in global discussions related to the challenges in implementing SDG 6. As another clear demonstration of our increasing influence, we have five new country partners, and many more new partners from other constituencies, and we are continuing to build up our presence in Latin America, as well as among middle-income countries more broadly.

In 2017 we carried out a review of SWA’s governance structures, and the recommendations will start to be implemented in 2018. Among these are decisions to change some of the leadership structures. In the future, the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Steering Committee will be elected, and we will create a new post of CEO to be based within the SWA Secretariat. This person will be directly accountable to the Steering Committee.

The December Steering Committee meeting took place for the first time outside Europe and the US, with Mozambique ably hosting it in Maputo. We extended the meeting for two days to a total of four days, to include a two-day long “retreat” to discuss country engagement procedures and the new governance structure. Deepening country engagement will be the partnership’s focus for SWA in 2018.

For that reason, SWA will implement the decision to engage regional advisors in three regions. These posts will enhance SWA’s work at country level, bringing the SWA framework closer to SWA partners in-country. SWA has become a known global multi-stakeholder platform – and we would like this to be mirrored at the national level, through strengthening the understanding of the Collaborative Behaviours, the Building Blocks, and what needs to be done to achieve the SDGs.

In 2018 we will also have the opportunity of starting to test the proposed SWA global accountability mechanism in countries in 2018, in preparation for the first tabling of new commitments at a High-Level Meeting in 2019..

The UN High-level Political Forum is focusing on SDG 6 in 2018 and SWA will work with partners to present evidence for the successes and continued challenges of implementing the SDGs. We look forward to the discussions. Also in 2018 we will lead on the Sanitation Topic at the World Water Forum in Brasilia.

With so much achieved in 2017, and so much to look forward to in 2018, I recommend we all enjoy a short break to recharge our batteries.

See you in 2018!!