18th Meeting of the OECD Water Governance Initiative (WGI)
The 18th meeting of the OECD Water Governance Initiative (WGI) held from July 5 to 6, 2023 in Paris at the OECD headquarters had four (4) main objectives:
▪ To present and discuss key messages from ongoing work on the blue economy in cities, water governance and the circular economy in Latin America, and water governance in Africa;
▪ Share knowledge and feedback on the latest research and policy reforms in water governance.
▪ Inform delegates of the WGI’s contribution to global agendas (UN Water Conference, COP28, etc.);
▪ Prepare WGI deliverables for the 10th World Water Forum (May 18-24, 2024, Bali, Indonesia), including the Toolkit for Local Implementation of the OECD Principles of Water Governance.
At this 18th meeting, WGI members, including UCLG Africa, were invited to share their past and future activities, projects, initiatives and research in the field of water governance.
Session on water governance in Africa: “OECD – UCLG Africa: the Round Table of African Mayors for Water Security”.
This session, co-chaired by UCLG Africa and the OECD, was an opportunity for WGI members to present the progress and prospects of the Round Table of African Mayors for Water Security since the 9th World Water Forum.
Mr. Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa and member of the WGI Strategic Committee, and Mrs. Aziza Akhmouch, Head of the Cities, Urban Policies and Sustainable Development Division at the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, gave a presentation on the advocacy actions carried out since the implementation of the Mayors and Local and Regional Governments Action Plan for Water Security adopted at the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar (March 21-25, 2022) to date, and the actions scheduled between now and COP28, including the Africa Climate Summit, Africa Climate Week (ACW), MENA Climate Week (MENACW), and the Three Basins Summit, among others.
In his remarks, Mr. Elong Mbassi recalled the main findings of the survey, emphasizing the need to bridge the significant gaps in multi-level governance in water management, including water security, capacity building, the water information processing and reporting system, and access to financing. He also stressed the need to capitalize on the work already done and extend the survey to other countries, particularly English-speaking ones, to structure the observatory’s operational framework. Mr. Mbassi also stressed the central role of local governments in implementing adaptation and resilience measures, given the predominance of the water sector in the territorialization of adaptation-related NDCs.
Two member cities of the Round Table of African Mayors for Water Security were invited to provide feedback on the process of implementing the Mayors’ Action Plan adopted in Dakar at the 9th World Water Forum. In their speeches, Mrs. Rohey Malick Lowe, Mayor of Banjul and President of the Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA), and Mr. Dieudonné Bantsimba, Mayor of Brazzavile and President of the Association of Mayors in Congo (AMC), highlighted the issues and challenges they face in terms of excess and scarcity of water, sanitation, access to drinking water and financing. The two mayors insisted on the urgent operationalization of the Round Table’s action plan and called for the creation of a fund to provide first aid in the event of climate-related disasters, directly accessible to local authorities.
In addition to supporting the work of the Roundtable, the WGI will co-produce a toolkit for local implementation of the OECD principles on water governance. The toolkit will complement the OECD Water Governance Indicator Framework (2018) and the OECD Guide on How to Assess Water Governance (2022) as part of the implementation strategy for the Governance Principles.
As a reminder, the OECD Water Governance Initiative (WGI) is an international multi-stakeholder platform of over 100 delegates from the public, private and civil society sectors, who meet twice a year in a political forum to exchange experiences, lessons learned and good practices supporting better water governance.
Created in March 2013, the WGI has the following objectives:
▪ Provide a multi-stakeholder technical platform to share knowledge, experiences and best practices in water governance at all levels of government;
▪ Advise governments on measures needed for effective water reforms through peer-to-peer dialogue and stakeholder engagement across the public, private and non-profit sectors;
▪ Provide a consultation mechanism to raise the profile of governance in the global water agenda;
▪ Support the implementation of the OECD Principles of Water Governance in member and non-member countries, by identifying best practices and using the framework of indicators for self-assessment;
▪ Foster continuity on the subject of governance between World Water Forums.