Capacity development can bring transformational change. It enables individuals and institutions to achieve their goals. It can be a key instrument to address the complexity of the world’s water issues and its ramifications across the 2030 agenda, but it needs to be innovative, systemic and forward-looking. It requires local ownership for sustainability beyond any single initiative.
We need to take a stand against single issue projects. Previous approaches have not paid sufficient attention to education training or attracting and retaining the skilled workforce required to deliver water and sanitation services.
Navigating water management requires an understanding of scientific and technical disciplines beyond water and sanitation. It includes governance, regulation, IT, environment and ecosystem management, youth and gender inclusion and stakeholder engagement.
Firsthand experience has showed us that demand-driven capacity development brings real behavioural and systems change. Alternative approaches have proven to be financially and environmentally sound, yielding greater outreach, scalability and impact.
For instance, across 60 countries, innovative trainings on our virtual campus led to the adoption of revolutionary international non sewer sanitation standards. It overcame COVID restrictions and provided a platform for sharing experiences and lessons learned. It also facilitated negotiations for the adoption of these standards.
We are calling on our colleagues to seize this opportunity to respond to specific country needs and support the people and organizations to achieve their aspirations. Together, we can provide the necessary knowledge and confidence required to efficiently deliver water and sanitation services.
We must promote South-South collaboration, sound investment, peer-to-peer learning and institutional building for solid and sustained progress towards achieving SDG 6.
We look forward to working with water stakeholders to deliver alternative capacity development that makes a lasting difference a reality for SDG 6 and attainment of all the SDGs that depend on them.
(Excerpt from Cap-Net’s gamechanger intervention at Roundtable 2 – Capacity Development, UN Water Conference Stakeholder Consultation)