IAWD Initiative

Strengthening Water and Sanitation Services in the Western Balkans: IAWD’s Initiative

IAWD – International Association of Water Service Companies in the Danube River Catchment Area 

In the Western Balkans, the quest for sustainable water and sanitation services is a pressing issue, exacerbated by international crises and environmental challenges. According to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal #6 Joint Monitoring Program, a significant portion of the population in this region still struggles with access to safely managed water supplies.

Challenges and Strategic Responses

The region faces numerous hurdles, including the aftermath of a global pandemic, economic disruptions from geopolitical conflicts, and escalating climate change impacts. A critical bottleneck has been identified as the shortage of skilled professionals in water management. This gap not only impedes progress but also poses a risk to sustainable development in the area.

IAWD, since 2016 as part of the Regional Capacity Development Network (RCDN+), is at the forefront of addressing these challenges. The organization’s efforts are focused on fostering collaboration among public water utility companies (PUCs) to enhance service delivery and meet the stringent environmental standards required for EU accession.

IAWD’s Role and Initiatives

With a commitment to improving water and sanitation infrastructure, IAWD participates actively in RCDN+, a vital regional initiative funded by SECO and BMZ aimed at enhancing the capacity and cooperation of water sector stakeholders in the Western Balkan countries.

Key objectives of IAWD include:

  1. Institutional Strengthening: Enhancing IAWD’s own capacities in membership services, project development, and lobbying; crucial for achieving long-term financial sustainability and influencing EU-level policies.
  2. Capacity Building: Elevating the operational capabilities of APUCs in the RCDN+ partner countries by institutionalizing capacity development programs. This initiative is vital for ensuring safe and reliable water and sanitation services.
  3. Policy Advocacy: Collaborating with NALAS to establish a dialogue mechanism, advocating for the needs and interests of APUCs and LGAs to policymakers, donors, and international financial institutions.
  4. Youth Engagement: Emphasizing the empowerment of young professionals in the water sector through support for the Regional Young Water Professionals community, aiming to cultivate the next generation of water management leaders.
  5. Consumer Awareness: Promoting the critical importance of water services among consumers to elevate the profile of PUCs and enhance public support for water infrastructure projects.

A Sustainable Future

By aligning with D-LeaP and maximizing synergies with RCDN+, IAWD is dedicated to reinforcing the financial and operational sustainability of APUCs, thereby contributing to the resilience and sustainability of the water and sanitation sector in the region.