Local and regional governments are the key players in water management and sanitation

The 8th World Water Forum will be hosted in Brasilia from 18 to 23 March 2018 by the Government of Brazil and the World Water Council. Under the theme “Sharing Water”, the World Water Forum is the world’s largest water related event held every three years, gathers all actors involved in water and sanitation management at all levels.

The mission of the 2018 Forum is to promote awareness, build political commitment and trigger action on critical water issues at all levels especially considering the implementation of SDG6.

UCLG, together with its international partners, will be co-organising the International Conference of Local and Regional Authorities on Water where local and regional leaders will be adopting the Brasilia Call for Action on Water.

UCLG and the issue of water

Water is a fundamental right, and guaranteeing access to drinking water and sanitation is one of local and regional governments’ key priorities. Our Action Agenda, adopted in Bogotá in October 2016, establishes a series of recommendations on “local action” and explains how local and regional governments can contribute to achieving the SDGs.

“Access to basic services is a human right that should be guaranteed for all. Local and regional governments should expand services and, at the same time, reduce the environmental impact of urban infrastructures”. The Bogota Commitment and Action Agenda

Where our voice will be heard?

UCLG is co-organizer of the International Conference of Local and Regional Authorities, together with ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability, the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA), the World Water Council and the Brazilian partners, that will take place on 20-21 March 2018.

The fifth edition aims to highlight the importance of integrated and sustainable water management led by local governments in the context of the implementation of the SDGs, as well as multi-level governance for water and sanitation, and better financing for services. The Conference will include 2 plenaries, 8 breakout sessions and 1 showcase experience session.

The International Conference of Local and Regional Authorities will commit globally by agreeing on a “Brasilia Local and Regional Governments Call for Action on Water”, encouraging actors to apply 10 recommendations resulting in experiences and lessons learned. These recommendations include, among others, the promotion of urban water resilience, capacity building in water governance, and equity access to balancing quality and quantity for marginalised population.

What can the constituency of local and regional governments bring to the table?

Water is becoming, more and more, an issue of cities and regions, and thus municipalities need to have a say in how safe water policies are drafted and implemented. Localizing SDG6 means also being able to face global catastrophes such as droughts and planning towards resilience.

Local and regional authorities are the central actors regarding management of water and sanitation. The issue of municipalisation of water and sanitation services should be put on the table and have a central role in the discussion. In order to ensure that the needs of the communities are met, Local and regional governments should have a stronger role regarding decisions on water management.

It is essential to promote decentralization through the implementation of the principle of active subsidiarity to ensure the provision of local services. Strong multi-level governance is mandatory in order to design and implement joint solutions to global problems such as water and sanitation management.

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