How the CWG is organized

The CWG: a network, a working group, a community of practice

Due to the CWG’s hitherto informal nature, no organizational chart could reflect the actual dynamics between the CWG members or actors. The CWG can be described from different perspectives. It is at the same time

an informal knowledge network, in which members participate voluntarily and with full autonomy,

a working group, in which partners work together on concrete projects such as workshops and the development of tools and other publications,

and a community of practice: “a group of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis”.

CWG membership: a large thematic group

As a network, the CWG relies strongly on the interest and motivation of its partners and as a result, there is no formal membership. Its long-term partnerships are based on common interest and mutual trust. The scope of membership includes bilateral and multilateral ESAs, non-governmental organisations, local authorities, training centres, universities, representatives of the private sector (SWM industry, consulting firms) and individual SWM practitioners.

Structural functions within the CWG

Up to 2003, the CWG has been guided by a group of interested professionals who acted together as an informal steering group – each individual participating by electronic mail from his or her own organisation or institution.

Only a very limited range of organisational work and other activities could be undertaken since funding was earmarked for either a workshop or a publication. In the most recent CWG workshop in Dar es Salaam (2003), the network members decided that the CWG should seek to establish itself on a continuous basis. For that purpose, an executive team, a secretariat and a programme review committee have been formed, and they started to operate in 2004:

  • The executive team or CoreGroup manages day-to-day operations. The Core Group consists of: Anne Scheinberg (WASTE, the Netherlands), Andrew Whiteman (RWA, Bulgaria), Reka Soos (Green Partners, Romania), Rueben Lifuka (Riverine Ass., Zambia), Laila Iskandar (CID, Egypt), Sanjay K Gupta (Switzerland & India), Sonia Dias (Sociologist, Brazil), Sandra Spiess (GTZ, Germany), Juerg Christen (Skat, Switzerland)
  • A lean, co-ordinating secretariat (at Skat) facilitates networking, keeps track of all CWG activities, steers programme development and manages the exchange and dissemination of information. It also acts as the legal basis or seat and as contact point for sponsors. It sets up and maintains the CWG web-site, publishes a regular CWG newsletter and coordinates the organization of workshops and the development and dissemination of knowledge products.
  • A formal programme review committee for governance matters is composed of two ESA representatives, two members from the thematic group (from the South), and two members from the executive team.

Legal status

Up to now, the CWG has been an entirely informal network with no legal status. Members are determined to maintain that informality and their own independence, which have been key factors in the network’s success.

Operational plan

To face the challenges ahead, the CWG has set up a long-term multi-sponsor programme, with a 5 to 10 year planning horizon. The programme is modular in nature, so that it is easy for individual contributors to fund particular modules, alone or together with others.


In the past, CWG members, in a “collaborative effort”, have succeeded in raising reasonable amounts of funding from a variety of sources every 1½ to 2 years for the organisation of international workshops and publications. As part of its new organization, the CWG seeks to raise funding for its long-term, multi-sponsor programme and for its own ‘core’ functions, which bind the programme together into a coherent whole and provide continuity.