2007 UNDP Water Governance Strategy

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The Global UNDP Water Governance Strategy  : A Follow-up to Human Development Report 2006: Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis

For UNDP's Regional Strategy on Water (Europe & CIS) click here

The 2006 UNDP Human Development Report (HDR), “Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis”, has served to catalyze global attention to what it aptly describes as the global water crisis. While illustrating that chronic water stress does pose a significant threat to human development in many parts of the world, the HDR underscores that, first and foremost, the global water crisis means deprivation in access to water and is rooted in power, poverty and inequality, particularly for women. As the HDR title and contents suggest, the water crisis is not so much one of absolute scarcity but one of governance.

UNDP's mission is to promote sustainable development around the world. Sustainable human development is intricately linked to access to safe drinking water and sanitation. As the HDR shows, the water crisis is a crisis for the poor: people living on less than $2 a day account for reover, water supply is only a tiny fraction of water use (usually < 5%). Water is a fundamental input into most productive sectors (80% to agriculture alone) and increasing competition over use and allocation along with impacts of climate change threatens to leave out the poor even further. The development and management of water resources remain at the heart of the struggle for sustainable human development, growth and poverty reduction.

Failure to commit adequate resources to water management and to improve water governance significantly restricts the ability of developing countries to reduce health risks and vulnerability, enhance livelihood security, and achieve pro-poor economic growth.

Contents

Water and the 2006 Human Development Report

As the 2006 HDR shows, the global water crisis is rooted in power, poverty and inequality - poor water governance - and overwhelmingly impacts the poor and the marginalized. The HDR and analyses carried out by UNDP’s Water Governance Programme provide ample evidence that access to water and sanitation is the core driver for development:

  • Sanitation, water resources management and supply services are all inextricably linked to the other MDGs, many of which cannot be achieved if water fails
  • The interdependence of people on water is also transboundary – 90% of the world population lives in countries with shared river basins
  • Competing demands for water means the poor will lose out on all fronts unless we change and improve water governance
  • Investments in water resources development and management, including sanitation, have an average benefit to cost ratio of about 8:1
  • Access to both water supply and sanitation explain far more of the variance in the Human Development Index than any other variable examined, including health, education, gender and access to modern energy services
  • Successfully addressing the water and sanitation crisis could trigger the next major leap forward in human development (as the ‘green revolution’ did in the 60-70’s)


Key HDR recommendations

The publication of the 2006 Human Development Report has re-focused international attention on the MDG water and sanitation targets and related water resources management and development issues. For UNDP, the HDR can serve as a great catalyst to generate concerted action to address the water-poverty nexus and MDG targets.

In the context of ‘Water for Life’, the HDR makes the following four principal recommendations:

  • Make water a human right – legislatively
  • Put in place national strategies for water and sanitation
  • Increase international aid by $3-4 billion/year (Official Development Assistance x2)
  • Develop a Global Action Plan

Key recommendations under ‘Water for Livelihoods’ include:

  • Develop integrated water resources management strategies integrated into national poverty reduction strategies
  • Put gender rights to water at center of development and give women a voice in water management decisions
  • Strengthen water and land rights - legal empowerment of the poor
  • Greater emphasis on strategies for climate change adaptation, integrated into national development frameworks
  • Strengthen institutional capacity and adequately finance all levels – local, national, transboundary


Water and UNDP

UNDP’s mission is the promotion of sustainable human development and its work centers around advancing the MDG agenda. To this end, UNDP, as the manager of the resident coordinator system, focuses on strengthening UN system-wide coordination and promotion of partnerships and strategies. Through its programmatic work, UNDP provides advocacy, advice, and development services to countries. UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2008 – 2011 lays out four development focus areas to promote inclusive growth and development:

  • Poverty reduction and the MDGs
  • Democratic Governance
  • Crisis Prevention and Recovery
  • Environment and sustainable development


Water Cross-cutting Linkages to UNDP Development Focus Areas

While the water governance programme is situated in UNDP’s Environment and Energy Group and Environment and Sustainable Development focus area, probably no other sector is as ‘cross cutting’ in terms of its linkages to all four UNDP development focus areas as is water, e.g.:

Development Focal Area KEY RESULT AREAS: LINKAGES TO WATER
Poverty Reduction & MDGs
  • Promoting inclusive growth
  • Supporting MDG-based national development strategies
  • Access to water supply, sanitation and water resources assets main driver of poverty reduction and prerequisite to achieving most MDGs
  • Mainstreaming of water supply, sanitation and water resources management into MDG-based national development strategies
  • Addressing rural/urban, rich/poor inequalities in access to water services
Democratic Governance
  • Fostering inclusive participation
  • Strengthen responsive institutions
  • Water crisis is principally one of governance, not of scarcity
  • Inclusive participation in water resources management
  • Strengthening water governance institutions and mechanisms
  • Integrating human rights & gender equality in water governance
Crisis Prevention & Recovery
  • Reducing the risk of crisis and systematic prevention of disaster
  • Restoring the foundation for development after crisis
  • Reducing water-related risks and crises (drought, floods, landslides, etc.) through integrated water resources management and climate change adaptation
  • Water governance & management entry point for conflict prevention at local and transboundary levels
Environment & Sustainable Development
  • Mainstreaming environment: policy, institutional, fiscal measures integrating Integrated Water Resources Management into National Development Strategies, Poverty Reduction Strategies (Papers)
  • Environmental finance market-based & other financial mechanisms for water supply & sanitation, sustainable management of water resources and aquatic ecosystems (cost recovery, public-private partnerships)
  • Adapting to climate change measures to reduce/minimize water stress and scarcity of clean water resulting from climate change
  • Expanding access to environment and energy services water supply and sanitation – capacity for service delivery, community-government partnerships

These strong linkages underscore both the catalytic, cross-focus area impacts of action on water, as well as the need for a concerted and coordinated effort across all of UNDP’s focus areas. Cross-practice collaboration, for instance in the context of the MDG Support Services, is essential for country-level impact.


Strategic Priorities for Water

Given UNDP’s role and the extremely strong poverty-water linkages discussed above, UNDP’s strategic priorities for the Water Governance Programme focus on support in the following areas:

1. National strategies for equitable management and governance of water

2. Local action on water and sanitation

3. Cooperation on Transboundary Waters

4. Adaptation to climate change

5. Global and regional advocacy & collaboration on water governance

Cross cutting:

UNDP plays both a coordination and operational role in implementing the Water Governance Strategy.

Coordination role of UNDP

  • One UN coordinated approach (one-UN pilots, additional countries)
  • UN Development Assistance Framework support mainstreaming Integrated Water Resources Management, water supply & sanitation, in National Development Strategies, Poverty Reduction Strategies (Papers)
  • Resident Coordinators raise profile of water crisis with governments
  • Spain MDG Achievement fund
  • UN Water – normative & coordination support
  • Set agenda with key agency, International Financial Institutions, donor partners
  • Facilitate Global Action Plan
  • Global & regional advocacy on water governance (lead UN agency)

Programme / Operational role of UNDP

  • Support to mainstreaming Integrated Water Resources Management, water supply & sanitation, in National Development Strategies, Poverty Reduction Strategies (Papers), (e.g. UNDP Country Programs, Poverty Environment Initiative, Poverty Environment Facility, MDG Support Services)
  • Water governance reform & Integrated Water Resources Management strategies – local, national, transboundary (incl. GEF International Waters / Land Degradation, Water Governance Facility)
  • Community-based action to scale up water supply & sanitation, local water resources management (incl. Small Grants Programme/Community Water Initiative)
  • Adaptation (GEF, other)
  • Capacity Building (e.g. Cap-Net)
  • Mainstreaming human rights and gender (cross-practice with DGG/OGS)
  • Conflict prevention (cross-practice with BCPR; Shared Waters Partnership)
  • Spain MDG fund (UNCT projects)


Implementation of the Water Governance Strategy

Implementation of UNDP’s Water Governance Strategy and support under the focus areas encompasses coordinated, complementary activities at headquarters, regional and country office levels as outlined below:

National Strategies for Equitable Management and Governance of Water:

Country Offices/Resident Coordinators

  • Coordinate ‘One-UN’ consensus approaches to country level action & advocacy on water targets (UN Development Assistance Framework, joint programming)
  • Raise water profile and carry out advocacy towards politicians, ministries and decision-makers
  • Support water governance reforms, water supply & sanitation and Integrated Water Resources Management strategies (legislation, regulation, financing, institutional development and capacity building)
  • Work with UN partners (incl. identifying lead) to establish national level water supply & sanitation coordination groups
  • Support mainstreaming of water supply, sanitation and water resource management targets into MDG-based National Development Strategies, Poverty Reduction Strategies (Papers), budgets, and medium terms expenditure frameworks
  • Strengthen Human Rights Based Approaches and assist interested countries with legal and economic governance reforms towards progressively making basic water supply a legal human right (the National HDR network could be mobilized in support)

HQ/Regional

  • Assist CO’s with technical assistance and access to good practice, e.g. on legislative and institutional reforms, integration of water supply & sanitation and Integrated Water Resources Management strategies in national development frameworks, capacity building, gender mainstreaming,
  • Continue cross-practice initiative to advance application of the Human Rights Based Approach to water
  • Continue development of GEF-financed global Integrated Water Resources Management planning support programme involving 40+ countries (including all SIDS)
  • Collaborate with RBx to articulate regional strategies for achievement of MDG water targets and strengthened support through Regional Programmes
  • Further development and subsequent dissemination of capacity building and MDG costing tools and assessment of investment needed to universalize water and sanitation services


Local Action on Water and Sanitation:

Country Offices/Resident Coordinators

  • Coordinate ‘One-UN’ consensus approaches to support decentralization and local action on water supply & sanitation and local water resources management (incl. GEF Small Grants Programme/Community Water Initiative)
  • Support local water governance and management reforms (participatory institutional mechanisms, water users associations, sub-basin councils, transparency and accountability tools, etc.)
  • Capacity building and gender mainstreaming for improved water supply & sanitation service delivery and water resources management at community level
  • Implementing Human Rights Based Approaches at local level (e.g. Small Grants Programme/Community Water Initiative)

HQ/Regional

  • Assist CO’s with technical assistance and access to good practice on expanding access to water and sanitation services, including community-government and private-public partnerships
  • Continue cross-practice initiative to advance application of the Human Rights Based Approach to water
  • Further development and subsequent dissemination of capacity building tools and water governance tools


Cooperation on Transboundary Waters

Country Offices/ Resident Coordinators

  • Backstop GEF International Water Regional Technical Advisers in supervision of GEF transboundary waters management portfolio
  • Support dialogue and raise profile of water as entry point for transboundary cooperation (Shared Waters Partnership)

HQ/Regional

  • Continue development of GEF-financed global Integrated Water Resources Management planning support programme involving 40+ countries (including all SIDS)
  • Support development and implementation of GEF transboundary waters management portfolio
  • Further develop Shared Waters Partnership


Adaptation to Climate Change

Country Offices/ Resident Coordinators

  • Implement due-diligence procedures to reduce climate change risks in UN country programming (applying a standardised climate screening tool)
  • Help governments to assess trade-offs across the components of the UN country programmes and to realign them so as to achieve the objectives of national development strategies.
  • Integrate climate change risks into national planning processes, strategies, policies, measures and investment decisions
  • Support measures to reduce/minimize water stress and scarcity of clean water resulting from climate change (ref. UNDP Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for Adaptation)
  • Support development of GEF Adaptation portfolio (Thematic area: Water Resources)

HQ/Regional

  • Guide, develop and manage the adaptation portfolio
  • Further develop programming guidance tools
  • Develop and implement capacity building tools on adaptation, Adaptation Learning Mechanism, and assessment of results and good practices


Global and Regional Advocacy & Collaboration on Water Governance

  • Continue global leadership role on water governance (e.g. World Water Development Report)
  • Continue advocacy of water-poverty relation, analysis and tools to promote evidence-based decision-making on pro-poor investments into water
  • Support intergovernmental dialogue and processes on global water policy
  • Use HDR as catalyst to lead advocacy for concerted action on water supply & sanitation and water resources management
  • Support strengthening UN-Water normative, coordination and knowledge management functions to scale up UN system joint delivery
  • Liaise with UN SG Advisory Board on Water & Sanitation on mechanisms to scale up global action
  • Consider taking leadership role to facilitate Global Action Plan/Mechanism
    • Dialogue with key partners and donors on Global Action Plan or Mechanism for scaled up action on water; explore options/mechanisms to scale up targeted donor support to water supply & sanitation and water resources management
    • Prepare ‘Pledge for Delivery’ - World Bank Spring meeting 14 April 2007
    • Through UN-Water, provide inputs to UK-proposed Annual Report and High-level Meeting to monitor progress and decide actions toward achieving water and sanitation MDG targets
    • Continue dialogue and follow-up through UN-Water on strategic guidance and coordinated follow-up on HDR recommendation


The Way Forward

One of UNDP’s most valuable assets is its reputation, and associated “political” capital and convening power. However, at present, UNDP is under-resourced to effectively support the realization of the poverty-water links and take advantage of the 2006 HDR as a catalyst to advance the achievement of the MDGs. The water governance team has been extremely successful in mobilizing resources and there are clear signals from a number of donors of significant potential for continued and scaled up support, if UNDP signals serious institutional commitment to water.

Therefore, to effectively implement the Water Governance Strategy and permit UNDP to fulfill its coordination and operational role in accelerating achievement of the water and sanitation MDGs, UNDP needs to:

  • Scale up implementation through existing partnerships and programmes, such as Global Water Partnership, Water Governance Facility, GEF Small Grants Programme/Community Water Initiative, Shared Waters Partnership, MDG Support Services
  • Expand capacity building for politicians, national and local government practitioners, and civil society organizations
  • Deepen specific UN agency partnerships for collaborative, complementary action, e.g.
    • UNEP: ecosystem sustainability, Integrated Water Resources Management, poverty-environment links
    • UNICEF: water supply, sanitation, and hygiene campaign; policy, decentralization, service delivery links
    • Banks: infrastructure development – policy environment for access by the poor, national development strategy, Poverty Reduction Strategy (Paper) links
  • Refine UNDP regional strategies and programmes to strengthen water interventions in support of MDG targets
  • Focus support on countries with largest water-MDG needs

At a minimum, to realize the Water Governance Strategy, UNDP needs to:

  • Institutionalize HQ Water Governance Programme and human resource capacity for global coordination and leadership
  • Enhance and institutionalize Water Governance expertise and leadership in the regions to support, advise and coordinate ‘One-UN’ country level approaches to accelerate achievement of Water MDGs in deficient countries.

To achieve results, implementation of the Water Governance Strategy and follow-up to the HDR requires dedicated and long-term commitment.


Annex: ‘Fast Facts: Action on Water’


References

See also

External Resources

The Workspace for the Regional Water Strategy

Summary of Live Forum: HDR 2006 - From the Report to Action on the Ground

2007 Action Plan for the Water-CoP in Europe & CIS

General Resources on "Water Governance"

Water Governance for Poverty Reduction -Report on Key Issues and UNDP response to Millenium Development Goals

Mainstreaming Gender in Water Governance: A Resource Guide

Women and Water - Gender Dimension in Water Governance

Dialogue on Effective Water Governance

Strategic Workplan (2006/07) for Strengthening the Water Governance Sub-Practice in Europe & CIS

UNDP Practice: Effective Water Governance

E&E CoP-Meeting 2005 - Water Governance Session

Workspace/Communication for Results - a Planning Guide and Resource Kit for Water Governance Projects

Primer on Designing A National Water Governance Programme

Resources for Designing A National Water Governance Programme

Guidelines for Improved Local Water Governance


The 2007 UNDP Water Governance Strategy


Attachments

 Annex-Fast Facts, Action on Water.doc

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