Global Wastewater Initiative (GW²I)

The Initiative promotes good wastewater management practices and works towards having wastewater viewed as a potentially valuable resource instead of as a waste product.

Member states of the GPA endorsed the creation of the initiative to:

  • Prompt synchronized action
  • Encourage investments in the field of wastewater
  • Facilitate cooperation, coordination, and synergy amongst all stakeholders
  • Identify and foster opportunities which can be applied by countries or scaled up

The GW²I is a global multiple stakeholder platform comprised of UN agencies, international organizations, governments, scientists, private sectors and major groups and stakeholders to provide the foundations for partnerships to initiate comprehensive, effective and sustained programmes addressing wastewater management.

It is a voluntary network of stakeholders with an international Steering Committee and a Secretariat to be provided by UNEP/GPA.

Finally, it is a space to work under thematic groups on the major issues, challenges, and potential of wastewater, such as wastewater reuse, nutrient removal, biogas production.

Expected outcomes

  • Improved synergy among stakeholders including scientists, NGOs, the private sector, governments, and international organizations for more effective wastewater management
  • Healthier ecosystems and improved human well-being
  • Increased opportunities and benefits realized and concerted national and international efforts to embed effective wastewater in national development plans
  • Enhanced knowledge generation, sharing, and utilization for better wastewater management
  • Enhanced recognition of wastewater as a resource and an opportunity by decision-makers and stakeholders
  • Increased utilization of the 3R approach worldwide
  • Enabled complementarities between the GW²I and relevant Conventions and other international instruments, action plans, initiatives, and activities
  • Systematic publication of scoping papers and global assessments on emerging wastewater issues
  • Increased mobilization of resources to address wastewater challenges.

Operational structure

Management and coordination arrangements 
The management and coordination arrangements for the GW²I are important to give the partnership a clear structure, thereby enabling it to achieve its objectives. The proposed structure is that the GW²I will be composed of a Partnership Forum, an International Steering Committee and a Secretariat, to be provided by UNEP. UNEP, subject to the availability of resources, will: provide administrative and secretariat support; facilitate the reporting of the Partnership to governments, including, where appropriate, the UNEP Governing Council or its subsidiary bodies (including IGR-4); support fundraising activities on behalf of the Partnership; provide guidance and technical assistance to the Partnership Areas; encourage new partners to participate in the Partnership, as appropriate; and be a member of the Partnership Steering Committee.

Partnership Forum
It is proposed to have a biennial Conference of all the members of the Partnership (to be known as the Partnership Forum), to:

  • Review the work programme and performance of the Partnership in respect of meeting its objectives
  • Review proposals and make recommendations on the broad areas of focus for the Partnership
  • Discuss other matters as may be decided by the Conference

Partnership Steering Committee
A Partnership Steering Committee will be established to serve the Partnership. The composition, roles, and responsibilities of the steering committee will be defined at the first GW²I meeting. The GW²I Partnership Steering Committee members will select a Chair who may serve for a two-year term. UNEP will act as the Secretariat for and be a member of the Steering Committee. It is proposed that the GW²I Partnership Steering Committee meets on an annual basis and at such other times as deemed necessary. Meetings may be in person, by conference call or by any other means. Partnership Steering Committee meetings will be held back-to-back with other relevant meetings as far as practicable.

The focal areas of the are:

  • Establishing the GW²I infrastructure
  • Contributing to debates  on wastewater issues and help provide solutions
  • Contributing to the strengthening of the normative basis for managing and monitoring the impacts of wastewater on the coastal and marine environment
  • Contributing to the  development and implementation of joint pilot projects to demonstrate and adopt measures enabling nutrients to be removed from wastewater
  • Awareness raising and communication activities

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