The first face-to-face Partners’ Meeting of GRIPP (Groundwater Solutions Initiative for Policy and Practice) was held on 8-9 February in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting was used to discuss and agree about basic principles of the partnership, including the mission, structure and governance, but also about the impact pathways and short-terms actions. A day prior to the meeting, GRIPP was introduced to members and partners of UN-Water; both meetings were kindly hosted by World Meteorological Organisation.
GRIPP is a global initiative to strengthen cooperation among groundwater specialists, enhancing groundwater advocacy, dissemination of existing- and generation of new groundwater solutions. GRIPP was initiated by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and quickly embraced by many organisations all over the globe. IGRAC has been a core group partner from when GRIPP was initiated. The following other GRIPP partners attended the Geneva meeting as well: IAH, IUCN, NCGRT, AGW, DWFI, BGR, CAWR, UNU-INWEG and IRHA. Several other partners (like NGWA, IGES and AWRA) joint the meeting by skype or sent their contributions in advance. We experience that GRIPP brings together people who are concerned about the state of groundwater resources and are passionate in their efforts to make a difference.
Day 1 - GRIPP Principles and Structure
The key topics addressed during the first day of this GRIPP Partners’ Meeting were organisational structure, governance and financing. The GRIPP structure distinguishes the Core Group (close engagement/governance), Associate Partners (engagement/advising role) and the Forum (confirmed interest in GRIPP/information sharing). GRIPP is coordinated by Karen Villholth (IWMI) with support from the GRIPP Implementation Unit and all partners.
Coordination of activities with UN-Water was discussed as well; the GRIPP meeting was planned back-to-back with the UN-Water meeting to present the GRIPP initiative to UN-Water members and partners and explore possibilities to enhance transparency, synergy and efficiency in international groundwater activities. Since several GRIPP partners are also UN Water partners, GRIPP can be seen as an exemplary case for the UN-Water coordinating role.
The first day of the meeting was rounded off with a discussion and agreements on GRIPP core documents and procedures, describing for example the mission statement, value proposition, content/format for GRIPP Case Profiles, common acquisition procedure and publishing, etc.
Day 2 - GRIPP Plans and Activities
The second meeting day was dedicated to GRIPP implementation: from the GRIPP mission to concrete actions. GRIPP overall objective is sustaining and enhancing groundwater benefits for livelihoods, food security, climate resilience, economic growth and ecosystems. To achieve that, GRIPP will concentrate of the following impacts:
- Recognition of groundwater in the global water agenda
- Transfer and implementation of proven groundwater solutions (technologies, management tools, governance practices) across the world
- Generation of new solutions through international cooperation
- Capacity building across all three previous impacts
As a first activity related to strengthening recognition of groundwater in the global water agenda, GRIPP partners are drafting a message on the importance of groundwater for the United Nations’ High Level Panel on Water.
During the meeting, impact pathways have been defined, including activities, products and target audience. Information sharing and communication received special attention, and includes a simple closing message to potential partners and stakeholders:
Welcome to GRIPP!