202867 UN Water Operator Partnership and the Project of Constructing Mutual Benefits in the Water Services and Sanitation Sector

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 8:30 AM

Thomas Kane , Department of Geography and Sociology, Strathclyde University, Glasgow, Scotland
The most significant public health issue facing the world today is the global water crisis; billions of people lack access to clean water and sanitation services. The Millennium Development Goals (MDG'S) formulated at the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002 set targets to halve the amount of people in the world lacking access clean water and sanitation by the year 2015. Current indications suggest the MDG's are bound to fail. Prior to, and since the establishment of the MDG'S, the dominant policy prescription to meet water demands has been to advocate for, and facilitate an increase in private sector participation. Evidence points to a failure of this approach with too little attention paid to social and environmental benchmarks. This paper will argue the need to re-configure water discourse away from the business model of economic efficiency where water is considered an economic good towards a social model where water is considered an essential public good and service. The paper will also consider the inclusion of social and environmental benchmarks into the water discourse, moving from those focused only on economics. By way of conclusion, this paper analyzes a current UN-Habitat initiative, Water Operator Partnerships, which seeks to initiate and facilitate partnerships based upon notions of social solidarity, mutual benefit and the free unrestrained transfer of knowledge. This examination will consider the potential to decrease negative public health outcomes by increasing the amount of people connected to water services.

Learning Objectives:
1. Assess the current evidence of the progress of the Millenium Development Goals. 2. Discuss conemporary water discourse which focuses on a business model for Water and the need to re-configure around a social model. 3. Evaluate the new UN-Habitat initiative, Water Operator Partnerships and its potential to improve global public health.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a third year PhD student i have accrued various strands of experience. I have co-authored one report and three articles into water governance in Scotland and beyond. I was co-organiser of a European Wide conference considering alternatives to commercial models. While recently i was representative of the Reclaiming Public Water Network at the founding meeting of the UN-Habitat initiative the Global Water Operator Partnership Alliance (GWOPA). The organisation of which i am a part was elected on to the International Steering Committee of the GWOPA at this meeting.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.