The Danube Water Forum 2022 was followed by the Benchmarking and Asset Management Nexus – Key Tools for Regulators and Decision Makers, held on 30th of June 2022 in Tirana.
The Conference gathered more than 130 participants, representing the national institutions (ministries, regulators); national water and municipal associations, local government and utilities from the Danube region; representatives from regional utility (IAWD), municipality (NALAS) and regulators (WAREG) associations; representatives from the EU, UNECE, GIZ, SDC, the World Bank and other bilateral donors and IFIs; Young Water Professionals; academia; private companies; NGOs, and others.
The aim of the conference was to feature the two disciplines as well as ongoing activities in the Danube region and to allow for discussion among all stakeholders on the need to further support the initiatives developed so far.
The Conference was opened by the welcome speeches form the organizers, Petrit Tare, President, SHUKALB; Elton Kacidhja, General Manager, Tirana Water and Wastewater Utility; Sokol Xhafa, President, SHUKOS, Walter Kling, President, IAWD and Peter Wolff, Fund Manager, ORF MMS, GIZ, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The keynote speeches were delivered by Rita Salgado Brito, Chair, IWA Specialist Group Strategic Asset Management and Enrique Cabrera Rochera, Chair, IWA Specialist Group Benchmarking and Performance Assessment, IWA Senior Vice-President.
In addition, Katerina Schilling, Interim Head of IAWD TS, shared a presentation on “IAWD’s benchmarking activities in the Danube region”, followed by Oliver Nachevski, Project Manager, ORF.
The Conference continued with the session “SEEAM Program Results & Way Forward – Enhancing the Cooperation between Service Providers and Relevant National Institutions”. The aim of the session was to have a closer look at Asset Management activities in Albania and Kosovo by presenting the status and results of the project “Integrated Asset Management for Water Utilities in South-East Europe” (SEEAM), and to inform PUCs’ representatives about the plans to continue the Asset Management activities and facilitate experience exchange between PUCs and relevant national institutions.
During the session, Arbana Kola, IAM Project Manager, SHUKALB, shared a presentation on the status of the implementation of the program in Albania, the results at the national level and the plans for the progress of the program in the future.
The Conference continued with session “From Benchmarking to Performance Improvement and Back” which highlighted the result of the regional UBP Danube Hub and shed light on the important cooperation between utilities and their owners, the Local government units (LGUs), in order to provide sustainable water services to their customers.
The last session “Benchmarking and Asset Management as Foundation for Sustainable Infrastructure Investment” emphasized the fact that both Benchmarking and Asset Management are important decision-making tools when it comes to investment planning, and are key in guaranteeing investment sustainability.