New Caledonia was the proud host of the 11th PWWC and 4th PWW Ministerial Forum which took place on 6th-10th August 2018 at the Nouvata Hotel, Noumea. This is an annual forum which brings together members (Public utilities, affiliated and allied) of the Pacific Water and Wastewater Association, a not- for profit membership body established in 1994 to support the Pacific region in meeting all water challenges which has further evolved over the years to become a regional Association of organisations operating in the water and wastewater sectors whose mission is the delivery of quality water related services that enhance the well-being of people in the Pacific region. Samoa was the host for the 10th PWWC last year and is one of the member countries of the Association with the Samoa Water Authority and Independent Water Schemes as utility members and MNRE, MOH along with other IAs of the Water and Sanitation sector as allied members.
The delegation from Samoa led by his Honourable Papalii Niko Lee Hang, Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure included representatives from the MNRE, SWA and the IWS who took part in activities of the conference with some of them who took part as presenters in the various technical sessions.
The theme for this year’s conference is “Innovative Solutions for our Islands” that calls for sustained national and regional commitments and recalibration of efforts towards the genuine achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goal 6: The Universal access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.
In line with this year’s theme, the conference endeavoured to inspire and motivate its members to be innovative thinkers and doers. Delegates were encouraged to capitalise on the wealth of experience and knowledge shared in the conference to translate into relevant national programmes and activities in their own countries. The Young Water Professional Programme as a key element of last and this year’s programme with more than 30 young people from utilities around the Pacific participating this year, continues to serve as an incubator for innovative thinking and learning.
The 4th Water and Wastewater Ministerial Forum aimed to reaffirm commitments for priority actions to address the critical challenges in the region which included capacity and capability developments, building “inclusive” community resilience taking into consideration the vulnerable population and promote community engagement and ownership in water and wastewater management. His Honourable Papalii Niko Lee Hang joined other Pacific Island Ministers in delivering key statements on the progress of water and sanitation sectors performance around the Pacific emphasising on the relevance of this year’s theme on key water and sanitation sector developments and activities.
As an integral part of the conference every year, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for all PWWA members was held as one of its final events whereby the PWWA Annual report for 2017 was tabled and endorsed as well as the election of new members into the PWWA Executive Board for vacant seats. It is pleasing to note that the Chief Executive Officer of MNRE, Afioga Ulu Bismarck Crawley was elected into the PWWA Executive Board as a representative of the Allied Members this year to fill in one of the two vacant seats for Allied Members. The Vice Chairmanship for the PWWA Executive Board continues to be held by the Managing Director of the Samoa Water Authority, Afioga Seugamaalii Jammie Saena.
This year’s conference concluded with an Awards Ceremony at which the Independent Water Schemes (IWS) took the award for the Best Customer Service for the Group 3 Countries. The ceremony ended with the hand-over of the PWWA flag to Vanuatu, which will be the Host Country for the 12th PWWC & Exhibition and 5th PWW Ministerial Forum next year 2019.