What’s new in financing for WASH? Did the 7th World Water Forum in South Korea bring new solutions to the table? Sophie Trémolet explores the old and new insights the forum built upon in her recent blog on this website.
From 12 to 18 April 2015, the international water community, including experts and policy-makers, met at the 7th edition of the largest international water event in the world, the World Water Forum, to address the global water challenges of the 21st century – such as water security, water quality and preventing water disasters. About 35.000 people from 168 countries were present during this 7-day event that attracted heads of states, parliamentarians, local governments, and other stakeholders to discuss thematic, political, scientific and technological challenges around water. It was held in Daegu and Gyeongbuk, Republic of Korea.
Looking at what’s new in financing for WASH, Sophie Trémolet of Trémolet Consulting attended different sessions at the Forum and compared new reports to earlier efforts. Interesting pointers this year were the launch of the report “Water: Fit to Finance?” that presents a global diagnostic of current financial mechanisms for the water sector at large and recalls earlier efforts at mobilizing new sources of finance.
This report focuses on “making the water sector a better investment proposition” and reckons that an emphasis on water security and demonstrating the link between water and economic growth will help mobilize all investors in the sector, including governments and the private sector. However, Trémolet argues, the report was fairly timid on the issue of increasing taxation and fostering domestic resource mobilisation. This is also in contrast with the call for massively increasing domestic public financing for all infrastructure and social services including water, contained in the zero draft of the outcome document for the Third Conference on Financing Development, to be held in Addis Ababa in July 2015.
“The community of people interested in water financing simply needs to grow, and what we currently know about how financing can be mobilized, utilized and tracked needs to be better shared.” Trémolet says. For this reason, Public Finance for WASH initiative sought to make a contribution and will continue exploring many of the themes that were touched about at the Forum in more detail over the coming months.
This World Water Forum provided a key opportunity for the development and scientific community and decision makers to highlight the importance of water security for sustainable development, to identify water-related challenges that must be taken into consideration in the post-2015 agenda, and to work towards embedding the water-related challenges within the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The next World Water Forum will take place in Brasilia in 2018.