Moving from economic growth to sustainable development is the imperative of our time. This shift will not happen in a water-insecure world. In Securing Water, Sustaining Growth, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Global Water Partnership estimate that water risks cost more than US$500 billion a year, while the World Economic Forum Global Risks Report lists ‘water crisis’ as one of the top five global risks since 2012.
At the heart of the water crisis is the way water is managed and governed. Enabling prosperous, sustainable, inclusive development requires shared, concrete solutions, and mechanisms to manage competing uses and increasing pressure on the resource. The private sector is an essential partner in sustainable water management and governance, i.e. the foundation on which Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 as a whole (“ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”) and the broader water-related goals can be met: for food, health, energy, jobs, poverty eradication, climate recovery, education, ecosystems, etc.
Strengthening partnerships is integral to the GWP Theory of Change: diverse, multistakeholder partnerships are necessary to generate knowledge, catalyse action and political will, and mobilise financing to improve the way water is managed at watershed, national, and regional levels. GWP seeks to be a close, solutions-oriented partner in private-sector endeavours to achieve a water secure world.
GWP is a multistakeholder platform – a neutral, safe space for engagement. This ‘neutral’ status has been a hallmark of successes achieved through GWP over the last twenty years. As a multistakeholder platform GWP is able to effectively champion integration of corporate water stewardship (CWS) with integrated water resources management (IWRM) strategies.
GWP’s approach to engaging the private sector seeks to link CWS efforts to IWRM planning and implementation frameworks and strategies.
GWP recognises that there are many well-established business platforms that deal with corporate stewardship issues and, therefore, does not seek to create a new platform. Rather, it aspires to add value to existing platforms by offering concrete solutions, facilitating CWS action at watershed or national level. To this end, GWP seeks to participate in existing CWS platforms and to directly engage the private sector. Aligning CWS and IWRM objectives in areas of mutual interest will advance the aims of all partners.