2007 Action Plan for the Water-CoP in Europe & CIS

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This article highlights the achievements of UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and CIS (RBEC) in the water sector in 2006 and gives the action plan for 2007.

Highlights of 2006 include the Virtual Knowledge Fair, which gathered and displayed (virtually) regional best practices and innovations in water governance from 18 countries and had 600 registered users (and over 1,800 visits from around the globe) during the 3-day event.

Bratislava Regional Centre's innovative approach to knowledge sharing on water related issues - WaterWiki - continued to grow in 2006 with increased contributions from registered CoP-members. Other networks and communities of practice have shown interest in starting similar knowledge sharing wikis.

UNDP also developed and launched the regional UNDP-Coca Cola Water Partnership (“Every Drop Counts”) in 2006.

In 2007, UNDP/ RBEC will continue to strengthen the regional ‘Water Community of Practice’ (CoP), and support its member practitioners. It is agreed that UNDP is playing, and needs to continue to play, an important and active role in the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector in this region, but UNDP needs to strategically (re-) position itself in the water & sanitation sector in the region.

UNDP will continue to expand and grow the knowledge management tools especially WaterWiki and focus on building new partnerships in the region, especially with other UN agencies (as a part of the UN Reform)


A) Activities and Achievements in 2006

UNDP in Europe & CIS – through UNDP Country Offices and the Bratislava Regional Service Centre – has increased its activity in the area of “Effective Water Governance” / Water Supply and Sanitation in 2006. Apart from concrete national and regional project activities, the most important CoP-activities and achievements include:

‘rbec-water’: UNDP’s Water-CoP for Europe & CIS

  • Launched formally in 2005, UNDP’s regional Network/Community of Practitioners on water-related projects and activities grew to over 170 members, 25% of which are CO-Focal Points and another 25% non-UNDP members.
  • Besides on WaterWiki (see below), information and announcements have been shared periodically via the CoP’s group-mail address (rbec-water@undp.org). Water-CoP members have also used this channel sporadically to exchange knowledge and advice, and to participate in corporate initiatives such as the drafting, reviewing, and launching of the Human Development Report 2006 (“Beyond Scarcity – Water and Human Development”)

New regional partnerships and increased cooperation:

WaterWiki (http://WaterWiki.undp.sk)

  • WaterWiki has been launched in September 2005 and is the regional “knowledge map and on-line collaboration tool for practitioners in and around UNDP-water-activities”. This Wiki-based website allows any logged-in member to create or edit any entry and upload files.
  • The Information and knowledge base has been constantly enlarged and updated over the year and to date (Dec 2006) contains profile-pages for each of the 250+ CoP-members and contacts, approx. 100 water-related projects, over 130 directly relevant reports, information on 60+ organizations, some 150 thematic articles or ‘concept’- entries, as well as 40 “experiences write-ups” from practitioners throughout the region (see also “Virtual Water-Fair” below).
  • Around 60 CoP-members have actively contributed in 2006 (with total 160 CoP-members logged-in at least once). With a total of over 12,000 page views (3,200 individual visits), the daily average lies currently at about 350-400 page views (registered maximum approx. 700), most of them originating from Google Search (78%).
  • The general interest for the UNDP WaterWiki project and its innovative approach to knowledge management and CoP-development has been steadily growing in 2006. WaterWiki has been “the talk of the town” in UNDP- and external knowledge management and water/development circles, and references can be found throughout the Internet.

Virtual Knowledge-Fair on Water 2006 (http://www.waterfair.org)

  • As pilot initiative and joint venture between UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre and UNDP SURF-Arab States, a completely virtual (on-line) knowledge-fair has been organized that gathered and displayed regional best practices and innovations in water governance from 18 countries, with 40 case studies, 10 multi-media presentations, and three live discussions.
  • With 600 registered users (and over 1,800 visits from around the globe) during this 3-day event, the virtual Knowledge Fair on Water 2006 was vetted as successful pilot with a clear potential for replication and up-scaling: The fair survey has revealed that 95% of all respondents would again take part and actively contribute to a similar (on-line) knowledge fair in future.
  • All the submissions to the Water Fair including the summaries of the live discussions are available at Water Knowledge Fair 2006

B) Looking Ahead

During a regional meeting in Sep 2006 Template:Fn , members of the regional Water-CoP discussed emerging issues and challenges for 2007, and the way ahead to further strengthen the regional ‘Water Community of Practice’ (CoP), and support its member practitioners.

Role of UNDP in Water Supply and Sanitation Sector

The CoP-members agreed that UNDP is playing, and needs to continue to play, an important and active role in the WSS Sector in this region.

  • UNDP’s comparative advantage in the sector is in building/facilitating policy dialogues, capacity building; not in infrastructure projects per se, except in context of area-based development & small-scale infrastructure issues (e.g. CIDP in Crimea).
  • The CoP also feels that more UNDP-internal (high-level and financial) support is needed to facilitate UNDP’s development and positioning in this important area in the region.
  • The HDR 2006 (on Water and Human Development) created new momentum (or at least attention) in the development scenes on water issues, which could/should be built on.
  • Other opportunities may come up in the context of Belgrade 2007 (Ministerial Conference in the framework of “Environment for Europe” initiative), the planned global E&E evaluation (UNDP/EO), others...

Thematic and (sub-) regional tendencies:

  • Sub-regional:
    • South Caucasus: IWRM in general, and “Nat. IWRM and Effective Planning” in particular; Basin-wide approaches (e.g. Georgia: While environment isn’t a big issue anymore, the government is actively promoting the basin-wide approach). Abkhazia / Nagorno-Karabakh: potential for area-based dev. (similar to Crimea CIDP?)
    • Central Asia: Nat. IWRM Planning (replicating Kazakh success, or Chu-Talas river basin commission), UNESCO interested in coop with UNDP for their Kazakh glaciers habitat. Kazakhstan is working on setting an Irtysh River basin committee for China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, this could be an opportunity to replicate the experience of chu-talas.
    • Eastern Europe: EU accession is determining topic (i.e. guiding principles emerge from EU Water Framework Directive). UNDP is/should be active at local & community level (coop. with NGOs), help access (EU-) funds for infrastructure dev. projects; PPP for Water Supply in different cities (local agenda 21);
    • Western Balkans: EU-accession (?); financing the water sector and/or WSS services;

Major challenges and external factors:

  • GEF is expected to pull out slowly but surely from this region (in terms of IW Template:Fn) , which leads to the main question of how to maintain the existing and planned regional waters-portfolio. New partnerships to funds, initiatives and partners need to be identified and built (including i.e. Adaptation/CC funds, EU, UN internal)
  • Remaining donor geography: USAID, GEF (?), Norway (e.g. $ 1 Mio. For small-scale Hydropower Plants in S. Caucasus), Switzerland/SDC (disaster management, e.g. flood management). Sweden seems to have pulled out of E&E in the region (needs to be confirmed)
  • UN Reform on the other hand offers potentially some interesting options, e.g. expected closer collaboration between UNDP (BRC) & UNEP (Reg. Office Geneva), for instance in context of Env-Sec. Closer collaboration can be foreseen (or could be aimed for) with other agencies like UNECE (Water Convention framework, and in particular the newly ratified “Protocol on Water and Health”), WHO, UNESCO, IUCN, and others
  • New corporate (E&E) strategic directions: Focus is on Mainstreaming E&E into national development strategies; promoting fiscal and institutional reforms as well as private sector involvement in the E&E area to allow market mechanisms and canalization of environmental finance; Climate Change and Adaptation; and expending environmental services to the poor.

In the future

The CoP-meeting concluded that UNDP needs to strategically (re-) position itself in the water & sanitation sector in the region:

  • There is a need for more detailed discussions about UNDP’s comparative advantage, niches, strategic partnerships, capacity development needs, looking at future priorities and activities, cross-links with other practices (e.g. energy, MDG’s, adaptation / CC, Land degradation), etc.
  • Any such (re-) positioning should be based on national and other relevant development strategies and involve all levels within UNDP, as well as governmental (client-perspective) and external partners. One important aspect should be the labor-division within UNDP (COs, BDP, BRC, others).
  • The process of corporately and inclusively developing a “Regional UNDP Water Strategy” itself could potentially strengthen and align UNDP’s interventions on various levels.


WaterWiki is currently seen as the most useful (and used) tool for knowledge management:

  • Codification and exchange and water-relevant experience and learning remain a priority for water-practitioners in the region. WaterWiki should build the centre-piece (a “one-stop shop”) for knowledge management.
  • BRC should promote and facilitate the joint (by all CoP-members) and continuous population of WaterWiki, and examine options for further enhancing and updating WaterWiki in 2007. Areas of special attention and/or improvement include:
  1. Ensure continued inclusion, complementing and updating of existing information (reports, projects, etc.), with main focus on linking to (rather than duplicating) existing web-based information. Maximize cross- and inter- linkage of various WaterWiki pages. Try in particular to (dynamically) link to UNDP content web-pages, workspaces, etc. As feasible and useful, link to existing external networks (CAR-Net, UNDP workspaces, external networks) Template:Fn ; attention to “information overload”!
  2. Maintain quality-level of knowledge (comprehensive yet succinct; specific/ applicable yet overall relevant; etc.)
  3. Overhaul structure (keeping more or less existing logic), focusing on intuitive (and “multi-entry”) architecture, and consider useful technical upgrades of WaterWiki (e.g. better and interactive maps, higher version of Media-Wiki with advanced features, tables, better “look”, automated “send-me-a-new-password”-function, discussion forum functions, etc. etc.)
  4. From “static information” (project data, organizations, reports) shift to “value-added content” (background, thematic and/or “judged” articles, lessons/experiences, sub-regional summaries of issues, etc.), emphasis on “living knowledge”
  5. Overcome language barrier: Include (and translate) Russian knowledge/information/reports/etc., possibly consider a synchronized English/Russian WaterWiki (like on Wikipedia)
  6. Summarize and “translate down” voluminous or complicated materials into simpler & applicable articles (and thus make them better accessible)
  7. Niche for WaterWiki: NOT experts who know exactly where to find (specialized) information/knowledge, BUT broad experts (= practitioners?) who don’t have time to conduct extended search or read through lengthy reports / webpages..  briefs, intros, overviews, “sign-posts” to further in-depth information..
  8. Explore potential and usefulness to us WaterWiki to develop joint articles, papers, viewpoints, etc. (“collaboration tool”)

C) Action Plan for UNDP/RBEC’s Water Governance CoP in 2007

This table gives the action plan for UNDP/RBEC's Water Governance CoP in 2007. UNDP will focus mainly on strengthening and repositioning itself in the water governance & sanitation sector in the region, increasing access to, and exchange of, relevant knowledge and experience in the region and enhancing regional programming and substantial capacity.


  1. Template:Fnb In the framework of the E&E-CoP meeting in Bratislava, 25-29 September 2006
  2. Template:Fnb Two out of 5 project submissions have not been confirmed for pipeline-entry as of end 2006
  3. Template:Fnb The links to the existing regional e-networks, such as CARNET in central Asia, will open WaterWiki to new audiences and make it more regionalized (language, local knowledge, local partners, incorporation into national undp co information policies). Through this the visibility and relevance will be enhanced.


See also

External Resources

The 2007 Action Plan


 ActionPlan 2007 only.doc

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