Contribution to the International Secretariat for Water (ISW) - Solidarity Water Europe (SWE)

The International Secretariat for Water (ISW) supports and empowers civil society and youth to be active, recognized and credible stakeholders in decision-making around water and sanitation. It is recognized for its holistic and participatory approach involving wide networks of partners, including numerous Swiss-based organisations. The contribution aims to strengthen the strategic partnership with ISW in order to remain an efficient and innovative advocate for civil society and youth.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Water sector policy
Water resources conservation
Water diplomacy and security
01.01.2019 - 31.12.2023
CHF  2’790’000
Background Citizens and young people are heavily and directly affected by the challenges our world is facing, and when it comes to the prospect of a peaceful and sustainable future, they have the most to lose. However, effective civil society involvement, including youth engagement, is challenging because of the disbelief of decision-makers, and institutions being more comfortable doing “business-as-usual”. As the time for actions is pressing, it has never been more important than right know to have a recognized and credible civil society – including youth – with a strong outreach.
Objectives An active and empowered civil society and youth for water and sanitation induce changes in policy-making, and contribute to sustainable and peaceful water governance for the benefit of all, in particular the disadvantaged.
Target groups Civil society organisations through the Butterfly Effect coalition, Citizens, Youth at global scale and at local level, Disadvantaged, Institutional actors, Decision-makers (including private sector), Authorities at all level (including municipalities).
Medium-term outcomes
  • Civil Society and youth have increased their innovation capacity and knowledge, and are empowered drivers of change.
  • Local voices – including civil society and youth are recognized, credible and have a strong, disruptive outreach in the water sector and beyond.
  • Relevant decision-makers are influenced to integrate a holistic approach for sustainable and peaceful water governance.
  • Vulnerable and disadvantaged have improved their living conditions through water-related field projects in their communities.

Expected results:  

  • Capacity building events and participa-tory tools allow civil society and youth to generate, share and collect knowledge, opportunities and advocacy messages.
  • Local voices are mobilized, unified and actively disseminate disruptive civil soci-ety messages on water issues.
  • ISW-SWE is recognized as catalyst and hub for the youth movement for water.
  • Constructive dialogues & interactions be-tween civil society, decision-makers and influencers result in shared visions for water and concrete engagements.
  • Water-related field projects, including youth-led local actions, are implemented with innovative approaches which aim to be scaled-up.

Results from previous phases:   In the previous phase (2016-2018), the work of the International Secretariat for Water-Solidarity Water Europe (ISW-SWE) has made a big qualitative jump. It has demonstrated that the consolidation of civil society networks can influence national policies and international frameworks where youth can become drivers of change. It played a crucial role providing support (capacity-building, financial resources), facilitating networks to build capacities to act for water, and was a source of motivation for many young people and civil society leaders. It positioned itself as an international key facilitator of civil society dialogues and empowerment in the water sector and beyond, with a considerable outreach.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
Private sector
  • Other international or foreign NGO North
  • Foreign private sector North
  • Swiss Private Sector

Other partners
Butterfly Effect Coalition, Water Youth Network, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, OECD, EU, Council of Europe, ECOSOC, Montréal International, Government of Québec, INBO, World Water Council, French Water Agencies, Universities, …
Coordination with other projects and actors Blue Peace Movement & Initiatives (Central Asia, Middle East), Global Water Partnership, Geneva Water Hub, UN-Water, Young Water Solutions, UNESCO-IHP, Swiss Water Partnership, Presence Suisse, IUCN…
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    2’790’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’991’960 Total project since first phase Swiss budget CHF   2’481’420 Budget inclusive project partner CHF   4’500’000
Project phases Phase 8 01.01.2019 - 31.12.2023   (Current phase) Phase 6 01.01.2013 - 31.12.2015   (Completed) Phase 5 01.03.2010 - 31.12.2012   (Completed)