31 January 2024 / Vienna, Austria
D-LeaP Committee Council and Roundtable of Water Associations Meeting: Talking Business
Contributed by:
Voice of the Danube
31 January 2024

Last week, the IAWD headquarter saw an unusual amount of traffic: The D-LeaP Committee Council sat down to discuss the achievements of 2023 and the plans for 2024 – and for the first time since the Covid outbreak, the Roundtable of Water Associations convened in person.

A bit of background for first-time readers:
D-LeaP, the Danube Learning Partnership, is an integrated regional capacity building initiative, carried by IAWD and national water utility associations. It provides a comprehensive curriculum for the staff of water and wastewater utilities in the Danube region. The D-LeaP Committee Council consists of nominated representatives of partnering national water utility associations and IAWD and has the overall responsibility to develop and implement the capacity building programs under D-LeaP.

This week, the D-LeaP Committee Council members sat down with IAWD staff members, World Bank staff members and representatives of SECO, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, GIZ, the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, and NALAS, Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South-East Europe.

The meeting worked through a busy schedule, discussing the draft D-LeaP Annual Report 2023, D-LeaP delivery in 2024, the coordination with other relevant projects, especially the Regional Capacity Development Network initiative RCDN+ and the new Utility of the Future Center of Excellence. Updates on the D-LeaP Academy and the D-LeaP Quality Management Framework were also part of the program, as was a dinner invitation on the evening before. 

Back to back with the Council meeting, IAWD was happy to convene the first post-pandemic Roundtable of Water Associations. This format is open to all water associations in the Danube region, including IAWD non-members. The objective is to foster an exchange of opinions and experiences, with a strong focus on increasing the cooperation in the context of communication and outreach as well as on the ongoing activities related to benchmarking. Highlights included presentations related to the cooperation with the NewIBNET (International Benchmarking Network) and the establishment of a Water Operators Partnership platform in our region.

Looking at the encouraging attendance and the lively discussions during this meeting, we are confident that the Roundtable will again become a fixture in the yearly IAWD schedule.