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Resilience in challenging times:
Mobilizing collaboration for future-ready water and sanitation service providers
Call for Engagement
22-25 May 2023
Bonn, Germany

UN-Habitat’s GWOPA will convene the global water and sanitation utility community at the 5th Global WOPs Congress in Bonn (Germany) on 22-25 May 2023.

Reliable water and sanitation services are critical in difficult times, yet conflict, rapid population growth, climate change, ecosystem degradation, and an enduring pandemic are complicating the work of operators. In Bonn, water and sanitation practitioners will get a platform to discuss how collaboration between operators can help them navigate these challenges.

The Congress aims to:

Understand the big issues facing water and sanitation operators
Showcase new knowledge and emerging solutions to these challenges
Celebrate and foster partnerships between operators to innovate and share approaches
Learn about Water Operators' Partnerships (WOPs) and their effective implementation
Strengthen the global WOPs community as a strong and fruitful solidarity network

How do I get involved?

Call for Engagement
Attend in Person
Participation at the Congress in Bonn is open to everyone and it is free of charge thanks to the generous support of the GWOPA host country, Germany.
Convene a session

We are currently looking for organizations to co-convene sessions. Convening organizations will work with other organizations to shape exciting sessions that meet the Congress objectives. They will be involved in framing, curating, promoting and managing sessions on topics where they have particular interest and expertise.

Co-convenors should be GWOPA members (or become one before the Congress) and plan to attend the Congress in person.

Individual contributions

Are you a Water and sanitation practitioner? Are you involved in supporting public operators? Are you involved in WOPs?

We are currently receiving expressions of interest for individual contributions to the Congress

Call for Engagement

Timeline and criteria for co-convening sessions

All expressions of interest for contributions will be reviewed by the Congress Organizers by December. GWOPA will notify all prospective co-conveners about the results of their expression of interest. Selection will depend on the number of available slots and selection criteria. Please note that not all proposals received can be accommodated in the programme.
Call for Engagement
Review submissions and notify prospective co-conveners
Dec - Jan
Co-convenors work on shaping sessions
Feb - Mar
Co- convenors finalize session preparation
Mar - April
Final preparation and promotion
5th Global WOPs Congress & GWOPA Assembly
Considerations for session proposals:
Relating content to the work of water and sanitation operators, WOPs, peer-to-peer learning and the work towards achievement of SDG6 and the New Urban Agenda.
Aligning with the theme of the congress “Resilience in challenging times: Mobilizing collaboration for future-ready water and sanitation service providers”.
Ensuring speaker selection considers regional balance, gender diversity, and young professionals.
Priority will be given to innovative session designs and approaches.
Priority will be given to institutional convenors that can financially support partners to attend the congress.

Who will be at the Congress

This biannual, global gathering
will welcome:
Public water and sanitation utilities of all shapes and sizes and from all continents
Community, cooperative and private water and sanitation operators
National and international water and sanitation associations
Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organzations
Municipal and National Governments, including their development cooperation agencies and regulators
Financial institutions
Workers and trade unions
United Nations organizations and other international platforms/network organizations
Research and
learning institutions

What makes the WOPs Congress different?

United by solidarity

Water Operators’ Partnership and other not-for-profit peer support exchanges will take center stage.

The Congress is a moment for the GWOPA network and new partners to come together around a shared commitment to helping each other.


The Congress is convened by the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance – a diverse network largely made up of public water and sanitation operators along with their partners.

Participation is free of charge and open to all organisations and individuals with an interest in sustainable water and sanitation.

A focus on operator staff

WOPs support operator staff to do their job better and they are happening all over the world.

The Congress will bring together hundreds of operator staff to tell their stories, learn from each other and inspire individual and collective action.

Moving towards sustainable access for all

The WOPs Congress has been designed in close consultation with a Congress Taskforce (public operators, WOPs facilitators, donors and civil society organisations) to ensure it shines a light on real actions, impact, and opportunity to increase progress on Sustainable Development Goal 6.

Thank you for your interest in the 5th Global WOPs Congress!

All contributions will be reviewed by the GWOPA Secretariat and we will contact you with any questions or clarifications.

Call for Engagement