Issues in Focus
Fact Sheet Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Washington, DC
March 21, 2012
The U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) is a U.S.-based public-private partnership (PPP) established to unite American expertise, knowledge, and resources, and mobilize those assets to address water challenges around the globe, especially in the developing world.
Challenge and Opportunity
The depletion of the world’s clean water resources is a threat to life and livelihoods everywhere. No other natural resource is as fundamental to human well-being and sustainable development as the ready availability of clean water. Though some progress is evident, the increasing demand for clean water continues to outpace global resources and capabilities.
The United States has much to contribute to solving the global water challenge. For instance, we have a huge wealth of water information and resources spread throughout the federal government, state and local government agencies, the private sector, NGOs and academic research institutions, but there is no single mechanism or platform for uniting and mobilizing this rich profusion to share with those most in need. Individual solutions are being scaled up (more wells, more hydropower dams, etc.) and it is imperative that we consider such solutions from an integrative trans-sector perspective so as not to cause other larger problems.
The solution is a public-private partnership. By bringing the U.S. public sector, NGOs, science institutions and the private sector together in a U.S. Water Partnership, we will address all of these challenges. The USWP will serve as a central synthesizer and force multiplier -- making information easily accessible, connecting people and resources, and leveraging the assets of partners to offer a range of integrative solutions. The USWP will build teams to address specific problems; mobilize and field the right combination of experts; provide a central platform for sharing information and for innovating integrative solutions, and in the process create new entrepreneurial opportunities for U.S. businesses to participate in solving worldwide water problems.
The USWP was inspired by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2010 World Water Day speech in which she pledged to bring American diplomatic, scientific, private sector and development stakeholders together to address global water challenges. She said:
“By focusing on our strengths and leveraging our efforts against the work of others, we can deliver results that are greater than the sum of the parts….. Regardless of whether we’re working on watershed management, efficiency, production, or sanitation, we need to look at this challenge holistically”.
The USWP was derived from a series of consultative meetings held between January and September 2011 with representatives from the private sector, NGOs, academic/scientific institutions, and U.S. government agencies. Its mission is to:
- Share U.S. knowledge, leverage and mobilize resources, and facilitate cross-sector partnerships in order to scale up innovative solutions, especially in the developing world where needs are greatest; and,
- Create new opportunities for international engagement for a broad spectrum of U.S. entities, including private sector innovators.
The U.S. Water Partnership will connect people and resources, making information easily accessible and leveraging the assets of partners to offer a range of “best of the U.S.” solutions tailored to priority water needs. The three levels of service include:
1. Access to knowledge – synthesize and manage the wealth of U.S. information through readily accessible, centralized physical and web-based network tools, and provide a central platform for knowledge sharing
2. Technical assistance and training – build capacity to understand U.S. information and develop recipient-led solutions.
3. Partnership development – facilitate and build “best of the U.S.” collaborations and expert teams to provide integrated solutions and rapid response to address significant international challenges.
Whom will it serve?
The USWP’s principal clients will be organizations looking to access U.S. expertise to solve water challenges. These could include foreign governments at the national, provincial and municipal level; international organizations, development banks, aid agencies and their implementing partners; civil society organizations such as humanitarian relief agencies, river/basin organizations and farmers associations; and foreign scientific and technical institutions. The U.S. Water Partnership will also serve the interests of its own public and private sector members.
Who’s behind this?
The USWP is being constructed principally by the Global Environment and Technology Foundation (GETF), with five founding partners: Global Water Challenge; Environmental Law Institute; University of North Carolina Water Institute, World Resources Institute; and the U.S. Department of State.
Twenty-two new partners announced on March 22, 2012 are: Africare; Clean Water America Alliance; Centers for Disease Control; The Coca-Cola Company; Department of Energy; Department of Interior; Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Export-Import Bank: Ford Motor Company, International Boundary and Water Commission (U.S. Section); National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration; Overseas Private Investment Corporation; Procter & Gamble; Skoll Global Threats Fund; Rockefeller Foundation; The Nature Conservancy; U.S. Agency for International Development; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; U.S. Trade and Development Agency; and U.S. Geological Survey.
How will the USWP measure its success?
The USWP will measure both quantitative and qualitative results from activities based upon the type of water challenge being addressed. Success will be measured by how well we meet our partners’ goals and by our overall impact on the larger water security challenges facing people and the planet.
For more information about joining or contributing, please call GETF at 703-379-2713 or visit www.uswaterpartnership.org.