Global Water Solidarity is an international platform specialized in decentralized cooperation partnerships in water and sanitation aimed at the achievement of MDG target 7-C and the human right to water and sanitation. 

With the support of an active coalition of water development partners and backed by innovative cooperation mechanisms, sub-national actors have a central role to play in responding to the challenge of improving universal access to water and sanitation. 

Owing to their closeness to local communities and first-hand knowledge of their territories, local and regional authorities have developed innovative solutions to overcome technical, political or financial challenges. 

To help leveraging this unique local expertise and bridging the water sector’s funding gap, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) led a group of institutions to establish the Global Water Solidarity International Platform (GWS), officially launched during the Sixth World Water Forum held in Marseille in 2012. 

Founding Framework of the GWS

  • MDG-7C: Halve, by 2015, the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation 
  • UN General Assembly Resolution on the human right to water and sanitation.
  • Aid effectiveness principles: Rome (2003) and Paris (2005) declarations, Accra Agenda for Action (2008) and Busan Declaration (2011).

Strong of 20 founding Members and over 100 current partners and members,  the platform includes local, regional and national authorities, international and multilateral organizations, water operators, NGOs, and private organizations.  The added value of GWS lies in its innovative capacity to build a network of water and sanitation partners in order to promote knowledge and good practices exchanges and to mobilize decentralized cooperation partnerships —and thus innovative funding mechanisms — at the national, regional and global levels.


From concept to fact: GWS has become an established platform for the promotion of Decentralized Partnerships for Water

GWS provides a platform that facilitates coordination and coherence among partners and interventions. Through the GWS international Charter, elaborated in a participatory manner by its Members, its signatories engage to develop and promote decentralized cooperation partnerships. What is more, certification tools have been elaborated for the recognition and promotion of decentralized solidarity partnerships for water and sanitation, among which a “recognition label” has been developed and granted to specific international initiatives, based on the fulfillment of the principles of decentralized cooperation.

Decentralised Solidarity Innovative Partnerships are driven by, but not limited to, the principles of a human rights approach to water, universality, subsidiarity, multilevel governance, participation and inclusiveness, appraisal of the endogenous potential, complementarity, mutual accountability, leverage and sustainability (institutional, environmental and financial).

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GWS mobilizes innovative funding mechanisms

The Oudin-Santini Law

The Oudin-Santini Law was introduced in France in 2005. It allows local governments or associations in charge of water and sanitation services to devote up to 1% of their water and sanitation budget to development projects. This law has facilitated the systemization of decentralized cooperation, and reinforced existing initiatives. It has also had a leverage effect, harnessing the support of private institutions and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Platform is also actively engaged in contributing to and advocating for innovative financing and fundraising.

GWS builds upon previous innovative financing national and regional experiences such as the Oudin-Santini Law in France, the Dutch “Motie Koppejan” Law, the Swiss Solidarit’eau, the Spanish Cánon del agua and the Italian and Belgian Initiatives. It adopts a multi-donor approach, showcasing the work and achieved results of GWS partners to mobilize additional funds and technical cooperation.

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GWS contributes to the water global debates and policies ….

GWS is a UNDP “water think-tank” that contributes to identifying emerging local development issues, setting out ideas and options for the post-2015 development agenda. GWS channels the immense knowledge of decentralized partners to feed into international processes. It has lobbied for the inclusion of decentralized solidarity innovative partnerships in the achievement of MDG 7-C in the agendas of several international events on water, among which the Sixth World Water Forum, Marseille, 2012; Salon Euro Africain de l’eau et de l’énergie, Bamako, 2011; World Water Week, Stockholm, 2011 and 2012; Water and Sanitation for All in Africa, Ouagadougou, 2011; Assemblée de l’Institut Méditerranéen de l’Eau, Marrakech, 2012; Forum de l’Association Africaine des usagers de l’eau, Marrakech, 2012; and World Urban Forum, Napoli, 2012.

……and facilitates delivering results on the ground.

GWS undertakes feasibility studies and situational analyses aimed at elaborating contextualized proposals for local or national water management. GWS facilitates partnerships and secures financial and technical collaboration to implement concrete capacity-building and infrastructure projects to respond to the identified gaps. By contributing to bring together all key local stakeholders, water development partners (bilateral and decentralized) and representatives of the national level, GWS pushes forward water solutions that are demand-driven, negotiated, locally owned, and that combine endogenous knowledge with external expertise and support.


The upstream-downstream synergy ultimately aims at supporting local and regional authorities in ensuring access to water and sanitation, with a view to improve their communities’ quality of life and contribute to their development objectives.

What we do



Global Water Solidarity - International Platform
United Nations Development Programme - Geneva Office
11-13 Chemin des Anémones, 1219 Geneva, Switzerland
Tel: +41 (0) 22 917 87 68

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