Agencies Launch Initiatives for Valuing and Financing Water
Photo by IISD/ENB | Sean Wu
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The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) launched a Roundtable on Financing Water to promote investments in maintaining water security and achieving the water-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The High-Level Panel on Water (HLPW) is developing a set of Principles for 'Valuing Water' that will help guide action at the country level.

The Global Water Partnership (GWP) is supporting a series of dialogues on these ‘Valuing Water' principles, with South Africa serving as the first country to host a national dialogue on the topic.

June 2017: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has launched a Roundtable on Financing Water to promote investments in maintaining water security and achieving the water-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The High-Level Panel on Water (HLPW) is developing a set of Principles for Valuing Water that will help guide action on water at the country level. The Global Water Partnership (GWP) is supporting a series of dialogues on these ‘Valuing Water’ principles, and in June, South Africa became the first country to host a national dialogue on the topic.

The Roundtable on Financing Water convened for the first time the 12-13 April in Paris, France, drawing around 70 representatives of donor agencies, governments, NGOs, and private-sector investors. The World Water Council and the Government of the Netherlands is partnering with OECD on this initiative. Participants discussed ways to promote investment in water infrastructure and innovation, noting that the returns on water investments compare poorly with energy investments, and that structuring investment opportunities, for example, through payments for ecosystem services (PES), can be complex.

Higher levels of investment in water security will be needed if the SDGs are to be achieved.

Sessions focused on: the gap between the economic case for investment in water security and the financial case; financiers’ expectations and the water security investment environment; converting the economic benefits of water security investments into financial returns; and scaling up financing through an attractive risk-return profile. The group agreed on a roadmap for its future activities, which will include analyzing the policies and conditions that promote or hinder water security investment, mapping financial flows, and promoting blended financing by using public finance and development aid to attract private finance. They noted that higher levels of investment in water security will be needed if the SDGs are to be achieved.

The group will showcase its work at World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, on 28 August, and will convene again in Tel Aviv, Israel the 12-14 September.

The High-Level Panel on Water (HLPW), a forum of heads of state launched by the World Bank and the UN Secretary-General to champion innovative approaches, has produced a set of five draft principles on ‘Valuing Water.’ A one-year process of regional consultations is currently underway to finalize the principles. The aim of the process is to energize political leadership for the wise use of water and to consider the true value of water in decision making. The first consultation took place on 30 May in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the second in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on 6 July. Forthcoming consultations are planned to take place in Mexico, Senegal and Bangladesh.

The HLPW is currently chaired by Mauritius and Mexico. Other members are the heads of State of Australia, Bangladesh, Hungary, Jordan, the Netherlands, Peru, Senegal, South Africa and Tajikistan.

At the end of June, the African Development Bank (AfDB) reported that it had approved funds of just under €1.925 million for the African Water Facility (AWF), an initiative of the African Ministers Conference on Water (AMCOW). The AWF was established in 2004 and began operations in 2006, hosted and managed by the AfDB. The AWF provides grants and technical assistance for water projects, and helps countries mobilize resources for the water and sanitation sector, and to implement the 2025 Africa Water Vision. [Report on April 2017 Meeting of the Roundtable on Financing Water] [Rountable Meeting Agenda] [HLPW Principles on Valuing Water] [GWP Media Advisory on Second Regional Consultation on Valuing Water] [GWP Press Release on First Regional Consultation on Valuing Water] [AfDB Press Release on African Water Facility] [AWF Website]

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