Ripples and Waves
Ripples & Waves is an online journal of ideas, commentary, and resources for the Swedish Water House community.
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Governance is crucial in achieving efficient, sustainable and fair water distribution and delivering adequate sanitation services. However, there is no blueprint, no simple formula for success to can be followed to ensure good governance in the water sector. The complexity of institutional and governmental structures calls for diverse approaches to achieve good governance.
The thematic process of the 6th World Water Forum reflects this understanding of the importance of good governance: The UNDP Water Governance Facility at SIWI (WGF) and the Water Integrity Network (WIN), with support from Transparency International (TI), joined efforts to place the crucial issue of integrity and transparency on the agenda at the World Water Forum. Two targets related to the topic of good governance were subsequently developed aiming at achieving wider use of corruption risk assessments and diagnostic studies and clear mechanisms for transparent information sharing, including budget transparency.
On the morning of March 15, visitors of the World Water Forum were invited to attend the joint WGF and WIN session on integrity and transparency in the water sector, to listen to various partners and network members sharing their experiences in promoting water integrity and good governance. It was a lively session with a diverse and interesting selection of case studies from Africa, Europe and Asia, which inspired as well as incited water stakeholders to take action to improve integrity and transparency, with a view to reduce corruption, in the water sector. The presenters shed light on what can be done to reach our targets. One of the presenters, Babatope Babalobi from the West Africa WASH Journalists Network reminded the audience of the critical role of journalists as watchdogs for accountable behavior in the WASH sector. Despite the highly sensitive issue and the dangerous working environment, Babatope and his network continue to improve the quality and accessibility of public information in the sector.
A high-level panel of mayors, bilateral donor representatives, public utility and an inter-governmental organisations discussed how political commitment to good governance and integrity in the water sector can be achieved. The audience had the opportunity to learn what concrete steps have already been taken to move forward.
The initiatives taking place at the grassroots level need to be complemented and directed by adequate policies. It is not so much about a lack of tools and methodologies to reduce corruption and improve accountability in the water sector - the challenge is to scale up their implementation.
The activities that took place at the World Water Forum present an important step in a long-term process which will require continuously raising awareness and joining efforts for improved water governance and integrity.
Programme Officer, WGF
Alexandra Malmqivst (WIN)
and Fiona Meyer (WIN)
For the fourth year in a row, the Swedish Water House, together with the International Water Association, yesterday arranged the Young Water Professionals seminar at the World Water Week in Stockholm International Water Association at the World Water Week in Stockholm. One thing that we wanted to change this year was to give more time for discussions since these have proved to be very interesting, full of creative ideas, thoughts and perspectives. Our experience has been that the time for discussions often has felt too short, thus, we made an exercise for the YWPs to work with- hoping for a more interactive seminar. The exercise the participants were given was to rebuild the city of Banda Aceh that was shattered by the tsunami in 2004. How do we build a city that provides for its people while at the same time being socially and environmentally sustainable? What are the best solutions for water supply, sanitation, energy and food production and livelihoods, considering the local context? The participants were divided into these different areas to try to answer this question. When planning their city they both had to consider the overall challenges that Rose-Osinde Alabster (UNICEF) had presented in the beginning of the seminar such as climate change, population growth and unsustainable resource use and the local context (political setting, climate, natural resources available, culture, gender and so on) described by Alastair Morrison (WGF at UNDP).
It soon became clear for the participants that the real challenge was to get all these systems working together. The different systems are largely dependent on the same resources and if not coordinated can easily result in competition for financing, water etc. The young water professionals had many ideas on how these different systems could be integrated. The sanitation group suggested that wastewater could be used both for biogas production, and as fertilizers for agriculture. The water supply group had thought about creating a system that did not use up too much energy. The food production and livelihoods group suggested household gardening as a solution for Aceh and had thought about how to make use of wastewater and rainwater for these gardens. Although there was a realization in all groups that some trade-offs had to be made, the focus was on solutions. Using a case to work with was very much appreciated by the young water professionals. It was a great way of getting the young water professionals engaged -the room was buzzing of ideas! Hopefully, we’ll try something similar next year.
See more pictures from this seminar at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldwaterweek/sets/72157627367549817/
Karin Glaumann, SWH