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News Rethinking governance in water services

This think-piece has been prepared by Janelle Plummer (Governance Consultant) and Tom Slaymaker (Research Fellow, Water Policy Programme, Overseas Development Institute). This working paper is based on a think piece commissioned by the Department for International
Development (DfID). Views expressed are that of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of DfID.

The purpose of this working paper, a think piece on governance in water services, is twofold. First, it
aims to provide a basis for discussion and debate as to how the Department for International
Development (DFID) should improve its approach to governance in water services.1 Second, it aims to develop a more comprehensive and structured approach to the analysis and the development of
governance in water services by applying DFID’s current governance thinking at the sector level. The
paper therefore draws on internal DFID governance thinking, terminology and approaches and is, in this first version, targeted primarily at a DFID audience interested in governance, basic services and water.

The paper suggests that it is vital that efforts in basic services such as water are more closely aligned
with the development of approaches to governance in DFID country programmes. The essence of the
argument is that water services needs to engage in a broader governance agenda integrated with other basic services and mutually reinforcing areas of governance. It argues that water sector debates to date have neglected the political aspect that determines governance outcomes. If the underlying processes are to be shifted in favour of pro-poor service delivery, it is vital to understand the incentives facing the major actors in the sector and how different interests are contested. This agenda, and the necessary thinking and tools to achieve this, have been established in mainstream DFID governance initiatives and need now to be adapted and applied in the formulation of DFID’s efforts to improve governance in basic services.

Contact information © Overseas Development Institute 2007
News type Inbrief
File link
Source of information FAN
Keyword(s) water governance
Geographical coverage International
News date 11/02/2008
Working language(s) ENGLISH