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WEF and the United Nations
WEF is honored to be accredited to serve in consultancy status to two of the United Nation’s most active and important bodies: The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP). As a registered Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to both the ECOSOC and UNEP, WEF representatives are able to participate in the debate and structure of UN programs and activities promulgated by these two bodies.
WEF’s primary involvement with U.N.’s ECOSOC activities is via its accredited involvement with ECOSOC’s Commission on Science and Technology for Development, and the ECOSOC Commission on Sustainable Development. While WEF’s consultancy focuses on water and sanitation, WEF is often included in other environmental issues that come before the U.N. (i.e., climate change, humanitarian aid issues, disaster preparedness, disaster recovery, etc.).
In addition to the ESOC and UNEP, WEF has also been involved with the UN Millennium Project, and its various water and waste water related goals and objectives. WEF also maintains collaborative contacts at the leadership and staff level with such UN-related organizations as UNICEF, UNESCO, and the UN Foundation.
UNITED NATIONS ARCHIVE
United Nations Environment Program
The United Nations (UN) views safe drinking water and adequate sanitation as essential for the advancement of global health. Various UN bodies have sought WEF’s expertise in such areas as population, human rights, sustainable development, the status of women, and human settlements.
WEF staff works continuously with their counterparts from the United Nations Environmental Program’s (UNEP) Regional Office for North America in order to raise awareness of UNEP’s water related programs and initiatives. UNEP and WEF staff continue to explore avenues of collaboration, including joint programs to develop materials and plan outreach for the decade of action on water.
The UNEP acts to assess and strengthen the condition of the global environment. UNEP also develops forums that encourage environmental discussion at an international level.
United Nations Millennium Project
The UN Millennium Development Project planned to reduce the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 50% before 2015. WEF remains active in the UN Millennium Project activities relating to water and sanitation issues.
The UN Foundation seeks to identify and address the most important health and environmental challenges facing the world today. WEF is participating in Washington, DC-based non-governmental organization (NGO) outreach meetings and developing relationships with UN Foundation key grants staff.
UNITED NATIONS LINKS
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The Departments of State, Commerce, the EPA, and the Washington Diplomatic Community
WEF ACTIVITIES WITH GOVERNMENT AND DIPLOMATIC COMMUNITIES
WEF’s international activities with key U.S. government agencies and the diplomatic community in Washington are continually expanding, especially as the Obama Administration and its appointees settle in to their new positions and roles. WEF interacts continually on water quality and related issues with the Departments of State, Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to name but a few.
A few samples of the ongoing collaboration on policy issues and/or activities of mutual concern to WEF and these government-diplomatic institutions include:
U.S. Department of State
WEF coordinates with staff and executive level personnel of State’s Office of Policy Coordination and Initiatives (PCI), a part of DOS’ Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES). The Bureau of OES carries an extensive portfolio of issues related to science, the environment, and the world's oceans.
The Office of Policy Coordination and Initiatives employs a long-term, strategic approach to achieving OES goals. It coordinates the Bureau's efforts within the broad conceptual framework of sustainable development, and works closely with United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development in helping to build and promote public-private partnerships.
PCI manages a number of ongoing initiatives on water and waste water, in addition to DOS activities relating to access to energy. PCI also manages bilateral dialogues on OES issues with major partners such as Brazil, India and China, and coordinates environmental cooperation with key countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
Given the visibility that global water and wastewater issues have received since Inauguration Day from both President Obama and Secretary Clinton, WEF looks forward to a greatly expanded portfolio of activities with DOS staff in the coming months.
Despite the decline in recent years of federal support for USAid grants focusing on water and sanitation, WEF continues to successfully compete for such project work as it may become available, as either a general or subcontractor. Staff at both WEF and USAid remain in continual touch on water and waste water issues of mutual concern to each organization, and WEF advocates (as appropriate) for increases in USAid funding.
U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC)
WEF’s primary collaboration with Commerce staff and senior executives focuses on DOC’s programs to increase the number of, and size of, numerous trade delegations who attend WEFTEC® each year. In addition, WEF provides counsel, expertise and renders comments as requested by DOC staff and executives on water and waste water policy outside U.S. borders.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
WEF and the Washington Diplomatic Community
WEF volunteer leadership and staff actively collaborate with EPA technical, managerial and senior political staff on policy formation, policy implementation, and/or issues or activities of direct interest to WEF and its mission statement.
Each year, embassy representatives and consultants are invited to check out WEFTEC® and introduce themselves to WEF. The cultivation of ministerial and professional embassy staff continues, with WEF leadership and staff dialoging and collaborating on water and waste water issues of concern to both WEF members and the respective embassy constituencies.
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WEF and the Peace Corps
As part of our increasing outreach efforts to various international organizations, WEF has formed a collaborative relationship with the Peace Corps to identify opportunities for WEF and its membership (many of whom are retired volunteers) to participate in the helpful current and newly developing programs.
Marking its 50th anniversary of service, the Peace Corps is continuing its work of designing programs to bring water and sanitation services to parts of the world so desperately in need. WEF joins the Peace Corps in these efforts by helping to increase resources, providing networking opportunities for WEF to interact and get involved with their Peace Corps colleagues and making new technologies available for water treatment.
The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)
The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) contributes to international efforts to find solutions to lead to the sustainable use the world’s water resources. Home to the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize, SIWI is also responsible for hosting World Water Week each August in Stockholm, comprised of the awarding of the Stockholm Water Prize and a five days worth of cutting edge educational programs and seminars on water and waste water issues from around the globe.
WEF is a founding member of the International Stockholm Junior Water Prize, which is also under the umbrella of SIWI. This prestigious international award for high school water science research is intended to increase the interest of young people worldwide in local and global water challenges.
More About SIWI
The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is a policy institute that contributes to international efforts to find solutions to the world’s escalating water crisis. SIWI advocates future-oriented, knowledge-integrated water views in decision making, nationally and internationally, that lead to sustainable use of the world’s water resources and sustainable development of societies.
By creating opportunities for dialogue and collaboration between water experts and decision makers, SIWI creates opportunities for the development of innovative policies and scientifically based solutions to water-related problems. This is necessary in order to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals and the water-related targets which were agreed upon at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, 2002.
SIWI stresses that water is a key to socio-economic development and quality of life, and that through integrated water resources management (IWRM), barriers which hinder increased food production, pollution prevention and poverty reduction can be overcome.
SIWI has several spheres of activity. It organizes the World Water Week in Stockholm and within it, the Stockholm Water Symposium, a global water forum convened annually. We also administer the Swedish Water House, a platform which aims to build operating networks around water issues between Swedish institutes, organizations and universities, and through this engage them in international water issues. Through different commissioned assignments, SIWI is also involved in a number of international water projects, above all within the policy area.
Further, SIWI administers the Stockholm Water Prize, Stockholm Junior Water Prize and Stockholm Industry Water Award for the Stockholm Water Foundation. A fourth award, the Swedish Baltic Sea Water Award, is administered for the Government of Sweden. Through these premier international water awards, SIWI is able to draw attention to critical water issues.
For additional information on SIWI, World Water Week, the Stockholm Water Prize, or the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, contact the following:
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Stockholm International Water Institute
SE - 111 51 Stockholm
Phone: +46 8 522 139 60
Fax: +46 8 522 139 61
The European Water Association (EWA)
WEF is pleased to be enlarging collaborations with our European members and colleagues via the EWA and its superb network of educational services and resources for water professionals throughout Europe.
The European Water Association (EWA) is an independent non-governmental and non-profit making organization dealing with the management and improvement of the water environment.
Founded in June 1981 as the European Water Pollution Control Association, EWA’s scope of the Association was enlarged in 1999 with the change of name to the European Water Association.
EWA is one of the major professional associations in Europe that covers the whole water sector, wastewater as well as drinking water and water related waste. With member associations from nearly all European countries EWA consists of most European Union Member States, including all countries from Central and Eastern Europe which joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. Other European countries represented within the EWA are Croatia, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia and Montenegro, Norway, and Switzerland.
The aim of EWA is to provide a forum for the discussion of key technical and policy issues affecting the growing European region. This is done through conferences, workshops, meetings and special working groups of experts all organized on an international basis together with regular publications.
EWA informs its members on the development of EU legislation and standardization and seeks to influence the drafting when appropriate. It has close contacts with the European Commission (DG Environment), the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Parliament. Through this exchange of knowledge the objective of EWA is to contribute to sustainable water management, a safe water supply and the protection of the water and soil environment.
Today, EWA consists today of about 25 European national associations each representing professionals and technicians for wastewater and water utilities, academics, consultants and contractors as well as a growing number of corporate member firms and enterprises. EWA thus represents about 55,000 professional individuals working in the broad field of water management. The organization was founded on 22 June 1981 within the framework of the International Trade Fair for Wastewater and Waste Disposal (IFAT) in Munich, Germany.
As a major and influential European organization representing water professionals through their National Associations, EWA's vision is to promote the sustainable management of the total water cycle for Society’s needs coupled with excellent service provided by informed and expert people.
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For additional information, contact EWA at:
WEF and the World Water Council ("the Council" or WWC)
WEF is a voting governance member and financial supporter of the World Water Council, an international multi-stakeholder “platform” working towards a secure water world.
WWC’s Profile and Mission
Established in 1996 on the initiative of renowned water specialists and international organizations, the WWC was formed in response to an increasing concern about world water issues from the global community.
The World Water Council's mission is "to promote awareness, build political commitment and trigger action on critical water issues at all levels, including the highest decision-making level, to facilitate the efficient conservation, protection, development, planning, management and use of water in all its dimensions on an environmentally sustainable basis for the benefit of all life on earth."
By providing a platform to encourage debates and exchanges of experience, the Council aims to reach a common strategic vision on water resources and water services management amongst all stakeholders in the water community. In the process, the Council also catalyses initiatives and activities, whose results converge toward its flagship product, the World Water Forum.
The Council is financed primarily through membership fees and additional support is provided by the host City of Marseilles. Specific projects and programs are financed through donations and grants from governments, international organizations and NGO's.
Actions & Activities
The Council's actions are oriented towards four areas desgined to support and advance the water-related UN Millennium Development Goals. They are:
- Water, Human Rights and Politics
- Water, Institutions and Financing Capacity
- Water Services and Infrastructure
- Water and Environment
To fulfill its mission, the Council concentrates its influence on three main areas:
- Politics and power structures
- Development and improvement of policies and institutions
- Implementation and impact of policies
Among the wide range of activities carried out in order to achieve these objectives, the main Council event is the World Water Forum, which takes place once every three years. The Council also supports various dialogues, including cross-cutting ones, monitoring programs, workshops, publications, etc. All the Council's activities are conducted through committees, working groups and task forces, under the responsibility of the Board of Governors.
Through its wide membership of organizations throughout the world, the Council spreads information about the policy development processes it carries out in leading political, scientific and technical domains, in addition to practical perspectives and knowledge.
The Council, as an umbrella organization, follows three working principles:
- It restricts itself to policy-related issues and addresses other issues only if they are cross-cutting or controversial;
- It plays the role of facilitator for cross-cutting programs and does not do work that could be done by its members;
- It cooperates with its members to identify the policy implications of their work and helps them to develop and promote these implications.
For additional information on the World Water Council:
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World Water Council
2-4 place d'Arvieux
3002 Marseille - France
Phone: +33 4 91 99 41 00
Fax: +33 4 91 99 41 01
WEF and the World Water Forum (WWF)
Held every four years under the organizational auspices of the World Water Council, the World Water Forum attempts to provide a broad tent under which water and waste water professionals from around the globe can gather to network and share their respective advancements to the benefit of developing nations currently without sufficient water or waste water services. WEF, to date, has only participated in WWF’s as an exhibitor or in an advisory capacity for a specific educational presentation or track.
The 5th World Water Forum, held in Istanbul, Turkey, March 15-22, 2009, featured the theme, “Bridging Divides for Water." The Forum addressed the geographic and conceptual barriers among regions and those among the developed and the developing areas of the world. Working towards the attainment of the Millineum Development Goals, the Forum provided the opportunity to engage the international water community and other involved sectors to propose ways for better resource management. The Expo component provided Fifth World Water Forum officials and attendees an opportunity to meet international companies that are displaying products and services related to the water industry.
For additional information on the World Water Forum, please see http://www.worldwatercouncil.org/.
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Water for People (WFP): A WEF Charity of Choice
WEF is proud to be a contributor and sponsor of the important work that Water for People has undertaken on behalf of some of the most impoverished people worldwide in an attempt to improve their quality of life by supporting sustainable drinking water, sanitation and hygiene products. WEF provides monetary, administrative, and staff support to Water for People, both at the national level and through local Water for People affiliates.
Water for People helps people help themselves…
Water for People is an international nonprofit development organization committed to the long-term impact of increased access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation and health. Time after time, Water for People finds that providing safe drinking water serves as a catalyst for greater community development. That's because Water for People coaches and facilitates: their local partners implement.
Water For People's approach is unique in that it designs partnerships to:
- Work with local expertise
- Identify in-country organizations
- Involve community members
- Use the creativity of local people
- Build with locally available materials
- Provide maintenance training
By North American standards, Water for People's work is simple projects, ranging in cost from $1,000 - 10,000, include the following:
- Community hand pumps
- School hand-washing stations
- Gravity-fed water systems
- Household latrines
- Health and hygiene education
Every living creature on this planet is sustained by water. We must have safe drinking water or die. Yet, every 15 seconds, a child under the age of five dies needlessly from a water-related illness. Imagine living your life knowing that your next drink of water could be the one that might kill you? That is how 1.2 billion people (one out of every 6 people) sharing this planet live every day. 2.4 billion (2 out of every 5 people) in our world have no access to adequate sanitation. Poor people – mostly women and children are responsible for collecting buckets of water from the nearest water source, usually the same ones used for bathing and washing clothes, and frequented by the livestock, also.
Uncollected garbage, overflowing latrines and non-functional residential and municipal drainage pipes plague poor people in urban areas. Children play in "latrine streams" filled with disease.
Unimproved, hand-dug wells only serve to spread disease and discomfort in many communities that lack choices, options and a voice in decisions that shape their lives.
Lack of access to one of life’s most essential necessities compromises the livelihoods, the health and the future of impoverished people throughout the world. Without access to clean water, adequate sanitation and health education, no other development goals can be met.
In an era of high-tech superiority, more than half of the people in the developing world are sick from the same cause – water-related diseases.
What actions can we take to address this humanitarian crisis?
Since 1991, Water For people (WFP) has used water as a starting point in helping the world’s poor take their first steps out of poverty and into a future of hope. WFP initiates processes that foster pride, self-confidence and hope in bringing people together to build their own water and sanitation systems. Clean water, adequate sanitation and proper hygiene practices create positive conditions for people to achieve other goals, make decisions that benefit the whole community, and devise innovative solutions for long-term sustainable development.
WFP invests in the greatest resources—humankind—the people within the communities themselves. WFP keeps people at the heart of every program by including them from the planning stage through the design, completion and evaluation of every water system. This encourages ownership and increases self-esteem within the communities.
WFP works through local partner organizations to build the skills of people so they can operate and maintain water and sanitation systems for years to come. WFP recognizes that capacity-building must also include health education programs so that communities understand the connection between unsanitary hygiene practices and the spread of disease.
WFP knows that ultimately people in the communities must be the ones to make their own decisions and to find their own solutions in improving the quality of their lives. To make this a reality for all of humankind, we must share our resources, our talents, our compassion and our future.
To learn more about Water for People and their current and future projects, visit their website at www.waterforpeople.org.
Water for People is looking for WEF members who are interested in joining their World Water Corps program -- Water for People’s global team of volunteers who support their growing portfolio of water, sanitation and hygiene education activities in some 11 countries. In particular, Water Corps volunteers are being sought for an immediate technical evaluation project in Bolivia, scheduled to start in early May 2009. For addition details on these exciting opportunities, click here.
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