The World Bank is working to help catalyse water utility improvements in eastern Europe over the coming three years through its support of the second phase of the Danube Water Programme. Keith Hayward spoke with the bank’s new lead on the project, Patricia Lopez, about the activities planned and what she hopes will be achieved.
As an infrastructure finance specialist with the World Bank, Patricia Lopez’s role has involved working on loans for specific projects as well as providing policy advice to governments. Her new position as the bank’s lead on the Danube Water Program gives her a greater opportunity to have a broader impact, particularly because of the research and analytical aspects of the programme. ‘To me this is an opportunity to take another perspective and to scale up the outreach that I am able to give,’ she says.
The programme recently entered its second three-year phase and the bank is again providing support, taking a lead on the programme’s analytical and advisory activities. It is working in an innovative partnership with the International Association of Waterworks on the Danube (IAWD), which is has more of a lead role with on-the-ground capacity building initiatives.
‘Something I think the programme is doing very well so far is sharing the knowledge that exists on best practices around issues that are important for utilities, for performance and for management,’ says Lopez. She adds that she sees also that the programme has been doing well creating a network of utilities that can learn from each other, and that the State of the Sector report produced in the first phase has contributed to greater awareness of how the region is progressing on key indicators.
- Europe, utility management, Danube, World Bank