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edit  ·  Toolkit Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) to Water Governance
UNDP Regional HRBA to Water Programme for Europe & CIS

Detailed documentation: Background | Regional aspects | Regional Programme | Methodology
PHASE 1: Checklist (Bosnia and Herzegovina | Georgia | Moldova | Tajikistan | Turkey | Ukraine)
PHASE 2: Country Sector Assessments and Proposed Projects (Bosnia and Herzegovina | Tajikistan | Kosovo | Serbia) | Bibliography

Legal Framework: The Rights to Water and Sanitation in International Law | Regional Law | National Law
WaterWiki-resources:Rights to Water and Sanitation: A Handbook for Activists | UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Water and Sanitation | UN Recognises Access to Clean Water as a Basic Human Right | Human Rights-Based Approach | Applying a HRBA to Water:A Case Study | Water-related Legislation and Conventions | The Right to Water - WHO Publication | A UN Convention on the Right to Water - An Idea Whose Time Has Come | International Conference on the Right to Water and Sanitation in Theory and Practice | Q&A: The Right to Water | General Comment 15 (2002) | Q&A: Water Governance | Water and Health | Equitable Access to Water and Human Rights | European Union Water Framework Directive | Essay: What exactly is “The Right to Water”? | Protocol on Water and Health | Protocol on Water and Health/Q&A | Lessons Learned From Rights-Based Approaches in the Asia-Pacific Region | Human Rights-Based Approach Strategies adopted by UNICEF Laos | Utility Privatisation through the Lens of Human Rights | The Right to Water - From Concept to Implementation | The Human Right to Water:Translating Theory into Practice | Report of the Seminar on Human Rights and MDGs, May 2009
External resources: HRBA and Water Governance Fast Facts - UNDP | Applying a HRBA to Developing Cooperation and Programming (UNDP, 2006) | COHRE Manual on the Right to Water and Sanitation | Protocol on Water and Health - Full Document) | COHRE Monitoring Implementation of the Right to Water: A Framework for Developing Indicators | Sub-commission guidelines for the realisation of the right to drinking water and sanitation (2005) | UNFPA - A HRBA to Programming, Practical Implementation Manual and Training Materials (2010) | Operational Guidelines for Implementing a Rights-Based Approach in Water and Sanitation Programming (CoHRE,2008) | COHRE Monitoring Implementation of the Right to Water: A Framework for Developing Indicators | FAQs on a HRBA to Development Cooperation | The Human Rights-Based Approach to Development - The Right to Water | UN Independent Expert Report on the issue of human rights obligations related to water and sanitation 2009 | UN Independent Expert Report on MDGs and right to water and sanitation 2010
Websites: The Rights to Water and Sanitation Information Portal | UN Independent Expert on Right to Water and Sanitation Webpage

The UN Common Understanding on a Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA)to Development Cooperation can be characterised as follows:

  • all programmes of development co-operation, policies and technical assistance should further the realisation of human rights as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments.
  • Human rights standards contained in, and principles derived from, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments guide all development cooperation and programming in all sectors and in all phases of the programming process.
  • Development cooperation contributes to the development of the capacities of ‘duty-bearers’ to meet their obligations and/or of ‘rights-holders’ to claim their rights.

The new (draft) UNDP Water Governance Strategy emphasises the importance for UNDP to focus on the issue of “deprivation in access to water” and water governance is highlighted as one of the main drivers for human development, while two strategic priorities have a direct link to water, namely “national strategies for equitable management and governance of water” and “local action on water and sanitation”. This reflects on the recent impetus to the recognition and implementation of a human right to water, in particular through the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals MDGs[1] by the UN General Assembly, and General Comment 15 (2002) by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, along with the emphasis put by the UNDP 2006 Human Development Report on the link between water and development. These developments indicate a new political push to adopt a Human Rights-Based Approach to water supply and sanitation (WSS) and water governance.

The UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre (BRC) is determined to combine these two challenging areas, as to translate the Human Rights principles into concrete action and results throughout Europe & CIS. The region shares common challenges and opportunities in both areas. Numerous existing and planned water-related projects and initiatives in the region could provide effective entry points for the implementation of HRBA, Such an initiative would also be an opportunity to support the implementation of the 1999 UNECE Protocol on Water and Health, which incorporates many elements of the right to water.

The BRC has therefore developed this new programme on adapting “A Human Rights based Approach to Improve Water Governance in Europe & CIS”, as to develop and implement Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) projects and other interventions in target countries in Europe and CIS. The regional programme will in particular support UNDP country offices to establish and implement projects and interventions at national and local level.



What’s the added-value in adopting a Human Rights-Based Approach to Water Governance?

Water is essential for life. A Human Rights-Based Approach to water recognises this fundamental role of water for human survival and development. The extent of the problem regarding water access is well known: 1.1 billion people do not have access to safe water and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation services. If the current trend continues, by 2015, 1 billion will still have no access to drinking water and 1.7 billion will still have no access to basic sanitation[2]. The poor and marginalised groups are disproportionately affected. The UNDP 2006 Human Development Report notes that there are sufficient resources for satisfying all users’ needs but they are not adequately distributed and there is insufficient political will<re>UNDP, 2006 Human Development Report, Beyond scarcity: power, poverty and the global water crisis, p.2, available at </ref>.

Though the water crisis and subsequent problems due to inadequate water management, unequal distribution of water resources and poverty have caught international attention for decades, progress has been slow. Moreover, these problems may be exacerbated by potential impacts from Climate Change.

These challenges have led to new demands by different stakeholders to recognise the right to water as a basic human right. Many working documents, dissertations and initiatives, especially from the human rights perspective, have pursued the recognition at international level of a Human Right to Water.

The right to water and the MDGs

The right to water is explicitly recognised in the Convention for the Rights of the Child and in the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. However, the key catalyst for the current right to water movement came in 2002 with the adoption of General Comment 15 (2002) by the UN Committee that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights[3].

The adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the UN General Assembly and General Comment 15 (2002) by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have created an enabling platform to adopt a human rights-based approach to water. The MDGs also give an opportunity to support governments to meet these commitments, both legal (such as human rights standards anchored in international instruments) and political (the MDGs).

One of the MDGs is to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. In addition, WSS is essential to achieve several other MDGs, such as health, education, extreme hunger and poverty.

General Comment 15 (2002) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights defines the Right to Water as entitling every human being to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use.

A Human Rights-Based Approach to address the challenges of the water sector

A Human Rights-Based Approach may become a powerful tool to address the challenges in the WSS and water governance sector since these challenges are rooted in many cases in exclusion practices and inadequate management. The 2006 UNDP Human Development Report clearly states that there is enough water in the world for domestic purposes, for agriculture and for industry. “In short, scarcity is manufactured through political processes and institutions that disadvantage the poor. When it comes to clean water, the pattern in many countries is that the poor get less, pay more and bear the brunt of the human development costs associated with scarcity.”[4]

A Human Rights-Based Approach is “a conceptual framework for the process of human development that is normatively based on international human rights standards and operationally directed to promoting and protecting human rights. It seeks to analyse inequalities which lie at the heart of development problems and redress discriminatory practices and unjust distributions of power that impede development progress.”<re>Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Frequently asked questions on a human rights-based approach to development cooperation, 2006, p 15</ref>

A HRBA identifies rights-holders and duty-bearers and has the advantage of considering people as active players in development programming and implementation and thus leading to more sustainable human development outcomes (e.g., public participation leads to a higher level of acceptability of water reforms). Adherence to human rights-based approaches to development implies putting human rights at the heart of development projects by applying a human rights lens to the way problems are analysed and how to address them.

Applied to WSS and Water Governance, a HRBA requires the development of laws, policies, procedures and institutions progressively leading to the realisation of the right to water. It requires addressing questions regarding pricing, investment, service, delivery, as well as resource management within that frame. It involves taking the elements outlined by General Comment 15 (2002) into account when implementing water-related projects.

Applying the human rights lens will help to identify and address some of the causes lying at the heart of the problems in the water sector. A human rights-based approach to water and sanitation can make a significant contribution to current efforts to improve universal access to water and sanitation and to achieving the MDGs through:

  • Improving accountability
  • Focusing on vulnerable and marginalised groups
  • Increasing participation in decision-making
  • Empowering individuals and community groups (national and local civil society organisations), as well as competent authorities.

HRBA in UNDP’s work and project portfolio

Water is essential for development. The Johannesburg World Submit for Sustainable Development recognised that water and sanitation are fundamental for poverty eradication. Human rights help to enrich and transform development thinking and practice. The links between water and development have been highlighted in particular in the UN 2006 Human Development Report “Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis”.

UNDP, as the coordinator of the UN Development Group, plays an important role in linking and coordinating of global and national efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals. UNDP helps developing countries attract and use aid effectively, and supports the strengthening of national capacity to implement a human rights-based approach to national development programmes and policies and the empowerment of women. UNDP’s focuses on supporting countries in designing and implementation of projects in the areas of:

  • Poverty reduction and the MDG’s
  • Democratic governance
  • Crisis prevention and recovery
  • Environment and sustainable development

In the area of “Environment and Sustainable Development” the UNDP goal is to strengthen national capacity to manage the environment in a sustainable manner while ensuring adequate protection of the poor. Specific results have been identified to mainstream environmental and energy issues into development planning; mobilize finance for improved environmental management; address increasing threats from climate change; and build local capacity to better manage the environment and deliver services, especially water and energy availability

UNDP is one of the implementing agencies of the Global Environment Facility. UNDP-GEF administers and implements an important programme on International Waters. In addition, several UNDP-GEF Biodiversity projects involve coastal, marine and freshwater ecosystems.

UNDP’s position in relation to WSS is to follow the principle of (a) guaranteeing a minimum amount of water for direct consumption – 20 litres at least – for each individual person, (b) at an affordable price based on the “equality” principle. In addition, the UN Common Understanding on Human Rights-Based Approach to Development Cooperation includes obligations that are very similar to General Comment 15 (2002)requirements of ensuring non-discrimination and inclusion of vulnerable and marginalised groups.

The new (draft) UNDP Water Governance Strategy, which follows up on the findings and recommendation of the Human Development Report 2006, in particular the main recommendation to “make water a human right; and mean it”, highlights the importance for UNDP to focus on the issue of “deprivation in access to water”. Water governance is highlighted as one of the main drivers for human development and “Human Rights Based Approaches (HRBA)” are identified as a cross-cutting priority, and as an explicit driver for the first two (out of five[5]) strategic priorities:

  • “National strategies for equitable management and governance of water” –a UN-coordinated approach to country level action & advocacy on water targets, including water policy reforms, awareness raising and capacity building;
  • “Local action on water and sanitation” – advocacy for decentralisation and improved water supply & sanitation service delivery at the basin or community level, local water governance reforms, support to entrepreneurships, capacity building and gender mainstreaming

The UNDP Global Human Rights Strengthening Programme 2007-2011 (GHRSP) calls for “continued efforts focusing on all UNDP practice areas from a HRBA perspective” and specifically highlights water governance and related work in the past. In the work plan May-December 2007, the GHRSP seeks to “develop and test guidelines/policies, identify best practices in UNDP’s areas of operation, develop internal capacity for applying a Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) in all its activities, and as well as support country level programming to that end, guided by the UN Common Understanding on a Human Rights-Based Approach to Development Cooperation (hereinafter, UN Common Understanding).”

Why a new Regional Programme for the Europe & CIS Region?

The situation regarding WSS in Eastern Europe and ECCA countries has been described as critical and deteriorating[6]. Most of the efforts to date regarding the adoption of a HRBA to water supply and sanitation and water governance have focused on other regions, in particular, Africa. HRBA have received far less attention in the Europe & CIS Region, even though many projects focusing on water supply and sanitation have been carried out or are planned in the region promoted and financed by the European Union, UNDP or the World Bank. These on-going and planned projects and initiatives could provide effective entry points for the implementation of HRBA. In addition, most of the countries in the region have signed and ratified core UN human rights conventions, setting a positive environment to implement HRBA.

The implementation of a HRBA for WSS and water governance requires effective coordination and a key actor taking on a leading role. UNDP seems to be better positioned due to its particular focus on water governance combined with its experience in adopting and implementing HRBA.

The regional context

The Europe & CIS region is composed of very diverse countries. However, they share a common past and common challenges, in areas such as public sector reform or WSS and water governance. The level and quality of WSS services among countries in Europe and Central Asia varies greatly. One of the main characteristics of the region is a high coverage of urban populations and a precarious situation in rural areas. In fact, the proportion of the population that currently have sustainable access to safe water and adequate sanitation remains undetermined[7].

Despite the differences between urban and rural coverage, one common feature is that infrastructure is often outdated and in a bad condition. Another common characteristic is that current tariffs do not reflect the actual costs of water and sanitation services leading to over-consumption. Finally, since many countries of the region rely on international water ways for water supply, transboundary impacts also need to be taken into account.

In addition, there are problems linked to legislative and institutional weaknesses in these countries. Moreover, the involvement of civil society and dissemination of information as well as redressing mechanisms can still be considered as generally poor.

The current challenges in the area of WSS for the region could be summarised as follows:

  • Inefficient operations, characterised by high system physical and commercial losses and high operating costs;
  • Outdated infrastructure;
  • Institutional and regulatory weaknesses, including governance and coordination issues;
  • Water quality problems due to malfunctioning treatment plants and equipment;
  • Lack of financial viability due to poor commercial practices, low tariffs, and limited government subsidies;
  • Water resource scarcity, pollution, and risk of flooding;
  • Corruption;
  • Poor involvement of civil society on water issues.

Finally, the region faces the challenge of mitigating these problems at a time of intense competition for limited budgetary resources and increasing social, political, and economic pressures.

Because many countries in the region face similar challenges, there is room for developing a common regional strategy for the whole region, although the design and implementation of concrete projects should take into account sub-regional, national and local specificities.

Specific enabling factors in the region

In addition, a number of trends at regional level have created a more favourable environment for the implementation of WSS from a human rights perspective in the region.

One of the major drivers is the 1999 UNECE Protocol on Water and Health which incorporates many elements of the right to water. In particular, the Protocol requires Parties to set targets and levels of performance for access to drinking water and for the provision of sanitation for the entire population to achieve a high level of protection against water-related diseases. These targets have to be published. The Protocol has recently entered into force and will require action from States Parties to implement it.

Close coordination should be ensured with the activities of the Task Force on Indicators and Reporting set up under the Protocol. This regional programme should aim at providing a basis for the coordination of this international action for the Region and to achieve specific targets outlined in the Protocol. There is a clear link between the main areas of concern of the regional programme and the requirements of the Protocol (see section 2.2).

In addition, the UNECE has another major instrument to promote human rights in the region, i.e., the 1998 Aarhus Convention providing for the right to access to information, public participation and access to justice on environmental matters. This instrument is especially important for enabling the public and CSOs’ involvement in health and environmental issues, including WSS.

The European Union also offers many incentives for the implementation of the right to water in the Region. For EU members and candidate countries, the EU offers a strong legal framework for water governance (in particular, the European Union Water Framework Directive) which embodies many of the substantive elements of a right to water including participatory rights and access to information, and promotes an integrated approach to water management. The EU promotes the alignment with these principles through its European Neighbourhood Policy.

Another important driver in the region to implement the WSS from a human rights perspective is the Council of Europe European Charter on Water Resources which recognises everybody’s “right to a sufficient quantity of water for his or her basic needs”. The Charter links this principle to the human rights to be free from hunger and to enjoy an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families.

The role of UNDP in the region

The UNDP is well positioned on the region to promote a HRBA to water governance with a strong record of activities and initiatives in these areas, in particular:

  • A holistic approach to water issues, addressing social, economic, ecological and capacity challenges through a wide variety of programmes at all levels;
  • Extensive experience in water governance and WSS projects as well as transboundary water projects in Europe & CIS over the past 15 years. Besides national level projects, investments into regional project activities amounted to roughly USD 75 million GEF (Global Environmental Facility) funding with co-funding from governments, the EU and other partners in the same magnitude;
  • Experience in small scale projects focusing on local/community level, in particular through the UNDP role as implementing agency for the GEF Small Grant Programme e.g., the experience of the Community Water Initiative in Africa[8], could be useful, especially in terms of design and implementation principles;
  • Close cooperation with and member of key international networks and initiatives such as the Global Water Partnership, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council;
  • A focus on strengthening of institutional and human capacity and on ensuring that water resources are allocated and managed equitably, efficiently and in an environmentally sustainable way;
  • Lead coordinating role in the UN, in particular within the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), which counts 28 members and five observers, including the World Bank;
  • High level entry into national development planning processes;
  • Connection with the poor and marginalised groups;
  • Large portfolio of human rights related projects and support in the region through the Human Rights and Justice Sub-Practice within UNDP’s Bratislava Regional Centre, with a particular focus on works on strengthening the capacity of governments, civil society counter parts and UNDP staff in the region to apply a HRBA to development programming;
  • Strong presence at the country level through UNDP country offices in each country of the region

Coordination and cooperation among key players will be essential, including at a programming stage, in order to avoid overlaps or inconsistencies in the responses to the challenges identified in the region. UNDP is the coordinator within the UN family of the activities to achieve the MDGs, including coordination of the MDG campaign and country-level monitoring activities. As shown above, UNDP is therefore best positioned as a driving force through its programmes on water governance, experience in adopting and implementing HRBA and coordinator of the UN Development Group.


Overall methodological approach of the programme

The approach adopted in developing this regional programme is based on the COHRE Manual [9] to implement the right to water and sanitation, and Human Rights-based Approach, and aimed at (a) looking at water management from a holistic, integrated perspective (Integrated Water Resources Management- IWRM) and (b) mainstreaming the water issue into Poverty Reduction Strategies, National Development Plans, or similar instruments. The cross-cutting nature of “water as development driver” further suggests close links with areas such as gender and promotion of vulnerable groups, conflict prevention, capacity building and participation, climate change and adaptation, and of course the promotion of Human Rights. This emphasis on human rights allows for a more innovative approach to water governance in the region, which has so far focused on water-related projects of a more technical nature.

To-date, a HRBA to WSS has mainly been approached from a theoretical rather than a practical point of view. However, human rights standards and principles are effective tools to address the practical challenges of WSS and water governance and are important for achieving the MDG regarding WSS.

Assessing the baseline situation and identifying key intervention areas

Applying a HRBA to water governance and WSS requires a methodology which can be adapted to different scenarios. The methodology proposed (see Annex II for details) starts with initial assessments of the baseline situation. Check lists have been developed to help assess the baseline conditions and to map a target country’s situation (“Phase 1”). They are designed to also serve as a support tool to conduct full country assessments, which main objectives are to identify gaps, needs and opportunities as a basis to define concrete projects and programmes (“Phase 2”). The check lists for assessment were tested via desk studies of six pilot countries.

However, for the methodology to be fully operational, field assessments involving local consultants and the governments of the region are needed during Phase 2. This analysis and diagnosis is essential for developing effective plans, projects or programmes for implementation. The initial desk-study assessment is only preliminary and cannot constitute the basis for the identification and design of specific projects.

Nonetheless, an initial round of desk analysis for selected pilot countries was the basis to identify and verify gaps and challenges (priorities and cross-cutting opportunities) in adopting a HRBA to WSS and water governance at regional level, and to identify the main thematic areas of this regional programme as well as potential opportunities for projects and mainstreamed interventions.

The projects and interventions defined during Phase 2 will be then launched and implemented (“Phase 3”). This will involve endorsement, recruitment of consultants or procurement, followed by the implementation of the projects/interventions at national level, with on-going support from RBC.

Figure 1 (below) shows the methodological approach for the regional programme implementation.

Figure 1 Methodology for implementation
Figure 1 Methodology for implementation

Four key areas of concern

Following the described approach during “Phase 0”, four key areas of concern have been identified for the regional programme and are to be used as a basis to define priority actions and potential projects:

  1. Accessibility – infrastructure
  2. Affordability – water pricing
  3. Quality and availability (resource allocation)
  4. Transboundary Cooperation

The first three key areas constitute basic elements of the human right to water, according to General Comment 15 (2002). The fourth key area (transboundary cooperation) reflects one of the key issues for the region and is directly linked to water governance. These four key areas should not be seen separately but as interrelated elements which should be taken into account in programming and implementation. The typical project will therefore be one that, although focused on tackling problems associated to a specific area of concern, integrates elements of the other three areas as well. Structuring the regional programme around these areas of concern facilitates the process and discussions to generate elements for national projects on one hand, and providing a “thinking grid” to discuss with stakeholders during the country assessment process any emerging options for concrete interventions on the other hand. Elements for potential projects and mainstreamed interventions linked to each of these key areas have been identified in section 2.2. These also incorporate cross-cutting issues based on compliance with and implementation of key human rights principles, namely equality and non-discrimination; participation and inclusion; and accountability and the rule of law (see Figure 2 below, which shows the different steps and sequences foreseen for the development of concrete projects (P1, P2, P3, etc.) within the framework of the Regional Programme. There could be several projects under each area for different countries).

Figure 2 - Development of concrete projects
Figure 2 - Development of concrete projects

A programmatic approach

Following Phase 0 (programme development), the implementation of the programme will take place over a period of up to six years. Each year, except for the last, full country assessments (Phase 2) would be carried out for target countries in one sub-region based on the initial prioritisation (see section 2.2 below). The country assessment will identify the main issues and recommend the relevant elements for each key area of concern in view of national conditions and priorities. Specific projects and mainstreamed interventions will then be designed to address those problems, taking into account cross-cutting issues based on compliance with and implementation of key human rights principles. These cross-cutting issues are (1) equality and non-discrimination; (2) participation and inclusion; and (3) accountability and the rule of law. A detailed description of the methodology for country assessment and selection of projects can be found in Annex II to the Regional programme.

After two to three years, a mid-term evaluation with subsequent regional conference is suggested, to share experiences, evaluate the results of the programme so far, and generate recommendations for the continuation of the programme. More details on the implementation of these activities are provided in sections 2-4 below.

The actions/projects will take place at one or more of three levels:

  • Local (sub-national) level: for example, with respect to a locality’s water services or a small river basin;
  • National level: for example, a WSS investment strategy;
  • Regional level: for example, transboundary exchange of experience and good practice on HRBA and water governance, in line with the UNECE Protocol on Water and Health (Article 6(2)(f)).

Moreover, the actions/projects would fall under two main categories:

  • Mainstreaming activities that would work in parallel to existing national activities or projects supported by other organisations or donors (for example, legislative reform or water service restructuring, revision of poverty reduction strategies);
  • Stand-alone projects

The actions identified would be launched in the following year. For each country, one or more projects per year, or a sequence of interventions, could be envisaged based on the prioritisation carried out in Phase 2.

Thematic structure of the regional programme

It is proposed to structure the programme around four key areas of concern, where the human rights-based approach can be applied to WSS and Water Governance.

This will enable development of projects and mainstreamed interventions, and delivery of results responding to each target country’s specific situation. As mentioned above, the four key areas of concern are:

  1. Accessibility – infrastructure (connectivity and service provision): accessibility covers physical accessibility and focuses primarily on the quality of the services provided (e.g., infrastructure and facilities, physical access to water points, and systems to separate waste water or human faeces from main drinking water catchment areas). It implies that WSS infrastructure and facilities are developed in a way that provides access to poor, marginalised and vulnerable groups.
  2. Affordability – water pricing (water tariffs and ability to pay): Water tariff systems should be designed in such a way to ensure cost recovery, while a standard volume of water is provided at affordable prices (or free if necessary) to every man and woman, with special consideration to poor, marginalised and vulnerable groups. This may require differentiated pricing of water services.
  3. Allocation and Quality – Water resources management (production, supply and demand management)– : water supplied should be safe and acceptable for the respective purpose and use, and meet minimum quality standards defined in legislation. Water quantity is a matter of allocation and needs to be differentiated from accessibility as such. It involves establishing a balance among competing needs while giving priority to human consumption.
  4. Transboundary Cooperation – Joint management of the resource (equal opportunities and shared benefits): Adequate cooperation between different countries sharing the same water basin is necessary in order to reconcile the different and possibly conflicting interests and needs for water. Again a HRBA demands to give priority to human water consumption.

The close links between these areas of concern and the provisions and requirements of the UNECE Protocol on Water and Health, as described in the box below (see also introduction chapter above), show the potential for synergy between the implementation of the Protocol and projects developed under this proposed regional programme.

Box 3: Synergies between the Protocol on Water and Health and regional programme areas of concern

Accessibility: the Protocol on Water and Health requires Parties to pursue the target of ensuring access to drinking water and sanitation for everyone (Article 6(1)(a)-(b)).

Affordability: the Protocol requires Parties to apply the polluter pays principle and to promote the efficient use of water through economic instruments. However, it also requires an equitable access to water so that adequate water is provided to all members of the population, especially to those who suffer a disadvantage or social exclusion (Article 5(l)).

Quality and quantity: quality aspects are directly relevant to the implementation of the Protocol on Water and Health, which requires specific action from governments to ensure that water is safe to prevent water-related diseases (Article 1).

Transboundary cooperation: the Protocol emphasises the importance of transboundary cooperation and establishes specific obligations for countries sharing the same water basin (Article 13).

The analysis developed under each area of concern should not be considered in isolation. The framing of the analysis around specific areas of concern is meant as a channel to develop ideas. However, when designing concrete projects for an area of concern, elements proposed under the other areas should be integrated in the project design.

For example, if a project is identified in country X under the area “Allocation and Quality” and would for instance focus on supporting national dialogue on competing demands for water within a water basin, it would be crucial to also include pricing policy and infrastructure aspects; it is not only relevant to discuss how much water is allocated to each sector, but also how each user will get access to the water and how much each sector should pay for its share of water, prioritising and favouring domestic uses over others, and giving special attention to poor, marginalised and vulnerable groups’ special needs.

As a second example, the evaluation of different policy options for implementing water accessibility should be based on the development of a socio-economic analysis that incorporates the ability as well as willingness to pay, which needs to be reflected in the strategic choice finally adopted for infrastructure solutions That would be particularly relevant for rural and/or isolated areas.

The following section presents each of the key areas of concern, focusing on:

  • Relevant and significant aspects for the region;
  • Key opportunities for UNDP interventions;
  • Entry points for development of mainstreaming interventions and/or stand-alone projects and expected results.

Area 1: Accessibility – infrastructure (connectivity and service provision)

This first area of concern is directly linked to the MDGs, namely to target 7 of halving by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.

Region-specific challenges on accessibility

In the Europe & CIS region, accessibility is a problem particularly in rural regions. In some countries only about 20 per cent of the rural areas have access to a centralised system of water supply. The situation regarding sanitation is even worse. For example, in Azerbaijan only 11 per cent of the rural population has access to improved sanitation facilities[10].

Finally, connectivity to a centralised system is one of the indicators for measuring progress in attaining the MDGs on WSS. Yet, vulnerable and marginalised groups, as well as minorities are generally not paid enough attention to in the planning and programming of WSS projects. These groups generally lack the capacity to participate in decision-making processes, or are not well informed about their rights in the first place.

Opportunities for UNDP intervention

The adoption of a HRBA in the area of “accessibility – infrastructure” is particularly important in relation to infrastructure projects at national or district level and would promote\, inter alia, special focus on minority groups, analysis whether the projects may have negative impacts on certain sectors of the society (e.g., gender-analysis), designing of WSS systems and facilities, and ensuring effective participation of all groups in decision-making.

UNDP intervention could also focus on allocating resources and designing projects to prioritise investment in traditionally less favoured areas, such as rural areas and urban deprived neighbourhoods which have generally less purchasing power, or design of facilities to enable access to elderly, disabled and other vulnerable groups.

Large-scale projects may not sufficiently address problems in rural regions or be sustainable in the long term due to incapacity to cover operating and maintenance costs. Therefore, (stand-alone) projects could also be envisioned to develop and promote small-scale, low-cost and/or decentralised solutions for water supply at local level (similar to the Porto Alegre approach[11]). Alternative technical solutions may include upgrading and improving traditional water resources (wells, springs) or adoption of small-scale solutions with low-cost technologies for sanitation which are often more cost-effective and sustainable. Service provision by entrepreneurs and CSOs may be another intermediate solution. Other projects could involve establishing low-cost water capture and storage in water-scarce areas. In other cases, alternative energy WSS facilities may be a solution in areas without electricity. For example, in Kyrgyzstan many areas do not benefit from electricity supply. Solutions based on solar energy or small-scale hydropower for water supply could be implemented.

Possible UNDP projects and interventions, and expected results
Expected results Entry-points for mainstreamed interventions Potential (stand-alone) projects
Local Level National Level
Avoiding negative impacts of WSS infrastructure projects or facilities on vulnerable and marginalised groups • Project impact assessments, to factor in impacts on vulnerable groups and to change design
• Influence national development planning & policy processes
• Pilot study to identify vulnerable groups needs and appropriate (small-scale, low-cost, etc.) design • Development of indicators for impact assessment of WSS projects
• Development of national WSS strategy & plan
Ensuring accessibility for vulnerable groups, including rural areas • Rural development and poverty reduction strategies and programmes
• Water financing strategies (socio-economic analysis)
• Development of small-scale water supply and sanitation
• Development of alternative energy WSS facilities in areas without electricity
• Strengthening water and land rights and ensuring legal empowerment of the poor, marginalised and vulnerable groups
• Developing nat. WSS strategy
Prioritisation and targeting of vulnerable and marginalised groups in water policy including resource allocation • Water financing strategies (socio-economic analysis)
• WSS strategies (to prioritise marginalised areas)
• Special projects focusing on elder people, poor neighbourhoods, sick people, etc. • Development of strategies/targets for specific minorities (e.g., Roma)
Ensuring public participation of vulnerable and marginalised groups in infrastructure-related decision • Projects to implement the Aarhus Convention with respect to EIA infrastructure decisions
• Policy dialogue and reform processes
• Capacity building of minorities and vulnerable/marginalised groups (in rural and urban areas)
• Awareness and capacity raising through NGOs for representing and defending isolated communities rights
• Legislation ensuring public participation in infrastructure decisions and physical planning in general

Area 2: Affordability – water pricing (water tariffs and ability to pay)

When a municipal water service is restructured or liberalised (either by establishing public private partnerships or privatisation), a financial analysis is often carried out to establish new, typically higher tariff rates. Often such analyses do not take sufficiently into account the importance of guaranteeing minimum water services to all residents, including at low or no cost for low-income groups, which may find themselves unable to afford the offered services. Similarly water infrastructure projects can lead to unaffordable increases in water prices and mechanisms need to be adopted to prevent low-income or marginalised groups from being deprived of access to water. In addition, many countries lack adequate rules on concession policies and thus liberalisation may lead to failures in controlling the private sector, or to problematic long-term contracts.

Region-specific challenges on affordability

In the Europe & CIS region, many projects financed by the EBRD and EIB aim at improving water supply and waste-water facilities. In addition, the World Bank and OECD have carried out specific projects oriented to water policy which include pricing policies. Infrastructure and liberalisation projects have been in some cases problematic. There are no clear rules to help private investors to plan their investment and the recovery of costs and benefits in the long term without depriving the poor from WSS.

Many of these countries are carrying out approximation strategies with the EU Water Framework Directive which implies the application of the cost-recovery principle when setting water prices but in many cases there is no legislative framework to ensure that low-income and marginalised or vulnerable groups can afford a minimum volume of water at affordable price or even for free. Often there is no independent regulatory body to determine tariffs or guidance is inexistent. Public participation in the liberalisation of water services and tariff setting seldom takes place. The level of corruption in the region is high while redressing mechanisms to address issues of corruption and mismanagement linked to water services, in particular access to administrative or judicial review procedure, are rarely in place.

Opportunities for UNDP intervention

Mainstreaming HRBA aspects in these types of projects involves establishing / promoting / supporting a more favourable environment for guaranteeing affordability for low income and marginalised groups. There are two main opportunities for UNDP interventions:

  • Integration of affordability considerations into the economic analysis on which water legislation reform and water strategies are based;
  • Ensuring public participation in the setting of water tariffs along with the development of redress mechanisms.

Analysis of national legislation regarding procurement and concession policies as well as price policies may provide a starting point of entry for HRBA. In addition, budget analysis and allocation of resources at national level will also be important. The economic evaluation should also cover how resources can be used to cover operational and maintenance of the system.

Water pricing policies also need to be transparent and mechanisms for public participation of all different interest groups and water users should be established. Capacity building under this module would strengthen local authorities and NGOs so that they can contribute actively to the effective management of water services (decisions on restructuring water services, and on tariff changes). The development of guidance documents at national or local level could also be foreseen. Finally pilot projects to establish redress mechanisms could also be considered in order to ensure accountability of public authorities and private operators.

Possible UNDP projects and interventions, and expected results
Expected results Entry-points for mainstreamed interventions Potential (stand-alone) projects
Local Level National Level
Ensuring equitable pricing policies and cross-subsidies, as needed • Water infrastructure projects (EBRD, EIB)
• Projects to reform water law (WB, OECD, EUWI)
• Developing guidance document on establishing tariffs and disconnection policies
• Introduction of measures to support low-income groups (housing and social measures, income support)
• Development of legislation on tariffs setting and disconnection
• Establishment of independent regulatory bodies (this could also be a mainstreaming project under a UNDP public sector reform projects)
• Introduction of measures to support low-income groups (housing and social measures, income support, targeted tax)
• Introduction of differentiated pricing depending on water use sectors
Integrating affordability and willingness to pay aspects into planning for financing water services • WSS financial strategies (WB and OECD) • Budget analysis for prioritisation of WSS
Ensuring affordability of services in WSS concessions • Projects to reform relevant laws concerning concessions for public services • Capacity building at local level for negotiating PPP contracts • Developing legislation on concession including provisions on duration, tariff setting rules and cost recovery requirements)
• Development of model contract for WSS concessions contracts, including safeguard clauses
Public participation • Projects to implement the Aarhus Convention
• Public sector reform projects
• Build capacity in local officials and NGOs/CSOs
• Support to multistakeholder dialogue platform
• Awareness raising among service providers regarding pricing policies
• Provisions in legislation on transparency and participation in tariff setting
• Support to multistakeholder dialogue platform
Transparency and accountability (redress mechanisms and procurement) • Public sector reform (UNDP, WB, GEF)
• Projects to implement The Aarhus Convention
• Anti-corruption projects
• Promote access to information on billing, budget allocations, etc.
• Develop complaints/redress mechanisms between consumers and service providers related to WSS
• Guidance document on information to be included on water services and utilities bills
• Assessment of effectiveness of procurement procedures
• Awareness raising and training of judges and independent bodies (such as ombudsman) on handling water complaints
• Media awareness raising

Area 3: Allocation and Quality – Water resources management (production, supply and demand management )

Region-specific challenges on allocation and quality

Domestic consumption in the region is very high. In addition, water can be critically polluted with organic loads, nitrates, heavy metals and other chemicals from agriculture and industrial activities.

Allocation for essential domestic use often competes with other sectors such as agriculture, industry or tourism, which can utilise large amounts of water and have, in many cases, a higher political priority. Priorities need to be established among different needs being also important that the cultural traditions are taken into account. There is a need for a system of governance that can balance among competing needs while giving priority to human consumption.

Many countries in the region are moving towards a river basin system of water management. However, most policies and projects to improve water management do not take into account automatically more specific elements of the right to water. In addition, it is important that local communities are able to participate in decisions.

Opportunities for UNDP intervention

The aim of this area of concern is to ensure that basic and effective water resources management structures (including sanitation) are in place, ensuring adequate production, allocation, supply and access to sufficient and safe water for the entire population:

  • Analysis of national or regional regulation of water quality and quantity. A HRBA would promote clear prioritisation of domestic water uses in water basin management plans and programmes (water resources allocation), as well as minimum and acceptable standards of water quantity and quality at person or household level (taking into account specific needs of marginalised and vulnerable groups);
  • Promotion of local participation in river basin management schemes;
  • Education, awareness building and small-scale pilot actions to support and promote local schemes for better water management (e.g., through better agricultural waste management or animal waste management in rural areas);
  • Mechanisms for resolving conflicting water demands and to share and manage water resources in an equitable way. This could also include development of complaints/redressing mechanisms in case of pollution and abuse of water rights. This area should also include capacity building to help local communities ensure their water rights.
  • Assisting households to obtain water capture and storage facilities or supporting local schemes for better water management, including introduction of equitability concerns in periods of water rationing, better agricultural practices, or waste management (including animal waste). It could also serve to provide for community-based monitoring mechanism.
  • Mechanism to integrate cultural and traditional lifestyle into quality and quantity standards

Possible UNDP projects and interventions, and expected results
Expected results Entry-points for mainstreamed interventions Potential (stand-alone) projects
Local Level National Level
Prioritising water allocation for domestic use • Water basin management plans
• WSS or water governance strategies
• Reform of water law, including alignment with EU legislation
• Development of conflict resolution mechanism for competing uses of water • Enabling legislation for conflict resolution mechanisms
• Support for national dialogue on competing demands for water
Supply management: Managing water production to ensure water quality and quantity • Development of policy and legal reforms in the field of water production
• Development of secondary legislation on water, including water quality/quantity standards
• National chemicals profiles (contamination problems)
• National agricultural and industrial development plans
• Mechanisms for community-based monitoring of water quality and quantity
• Training rural households on management of water (including animal husbandry)
• Capacity building for management, monitoring and enforcement
• Support to creating inter-agency coordination mechanism (e.g., environment, water, health, agriculture, etc.)
• Awareness campaigns on sustainable water use
• Pilot projects on water saving practices e.g., in agriculture
• Development of legislation setting minimum quantity and quality standards for water supply (delivery standards)
• Development of incentives for water savings and sustainable (less-polluting practices) technologies and practices <bre> • Mechanism to integrate cultural and traditional lifestyle into quality and quantity standards
Delivering water that is safe for use • Development of policy and legal reforms
• Development of secondary legislation on water, including water quality/quantity standards
• Support community and household-based projects for supply of water and sanitation services • Identification of vulnerable and marginalised groups needs and discriminatory practices
• Ensuring minimum delivery standards taking account of vulnerable and marginalised groups needs
Responding to climate change and natural disasters • Climate change country analysis and adaptation strategies • Community-based emergency and adaptation planning • Emergency aid to recover from drought/flooding
• National policies on water rationing
Public participation and transparency • Water basin management plans • Capacity building for local participation in RBM
• Support community capacity for negotiation and dialogue with government, WSS providers and other stakeholders
• Development of water reports to disseminate information
• Fostering national dialogues on IWRM
• Promotion of water user associations

Area 4: Transboundary Cooperation – Joint management of the resource (equal opportunities and shared benefits)

Region-specific challenges on transboundary cooperation

This area reflects the particular characteristics of the Europe & CIS Region which features a large number of transboundary water basins. These water basins play a key role in the economic development of the basin countries and are necessary for ensuring sufficient water supply to the population. However, structures for transboundary cooperation are not always in place or even possible due to political conflicts between the neighbouring countries.

While not addressed directly within the Human Rights framework, under international customary law the principle of equitable and reasonable utilisation is the basis for managing transboundary water courses[12]. Except in cases where full transboundary cooperation is ensured i.e. existing mechanisms ensure equitable access to water and ecosystem services, sharing of benefits and exchange of information, different levels of transboundary water-relations can be identified, where transboundary cooperation should be improved or even initiated.

Opportunities for UNDP Intervention

Depending on the specific type of existing cooperation issues, for example water basin, in which political conflicts between basin countries have been identified, this key area of concern might include small-scale transboundary projects in which local communities across borders would work together to address common and concrete water management issues, including allocation of water resources. Other projects may include empowerment of civil society to participate in the institutions established for transboundary water management, including in the elaboration of plans and programmes. Projects on conflict resolution mechanisms including arbitration could also be foreseen, since they will be essential for solving problems regarding resource allocation and conflicting uses, especially at local level.

Possible UNDP projects and interventions, and expected results
Expected results Entry-points for mainstreamed interventions Potential (stand-alone) projects
Local Level National Level
Facilitating transboundary cooperation on water resource management • Transboundary water basin management projects
• Establishment of joint water bodies
• Joint monitoring and assessment programmes
• Small-scale transboundary projects with local communities across borders
• Promotion of cross-border projects, including small demonstration projects, by CSOs
• Exchange of information, experience and good practices
• Support exchange of information, experience and good practices
• Development of common targets and indicators
• Development of coordinated surveillance and early-warning systems, contingency plans
Enabling dialogue towards conflict resolution • Regional positions on international initiatives e.g., sustainability, climate change, democratisation • Development of cross-border conflict resolution • Fostering transboundary dialogues
Public participation • Transboundary water basin management projects
• Projects to implement the Aarhus Convention
• Capacity building of local authorities and civil society for cooperation in the management of shared water resources
• Development of communication strategies
• Capacity building of civil society

Geographical scope, selection and sequencing of target countries

Although the region faces common challenges, the countries in Europe and CIS face different water challenges and geographical, economic and political characteristics. It is useful to group them into a series of sub-regions:

  • Central Asia: water scarcity, similar development conditions,
  • South Caucasus: geographical characteristics (isolated and mountain areas; they share same river basins)
  • South East Europe: post conflict areas and in line for eventual EU membership.
  • Western CIS (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova) and Russia: EU neighbourhood policy, commitment to align with EU legislation, similar legislative approach to environmental protection.
  • EU member and accession states and Turkey: full or on-going approximation strategies with EU legislation.

For each sub-region, priority countries can be identified. Using below listed criteria, these countries can be sequenced into different sequential tiers:

  • On-going or planned programmes and projects on water issues and/or human rights, including priority country for Protocol on Water and Health implementation
  • Prioritisation of WSS and/or human rights in the country as declared by Governments
  • Situation of the country in meeting the MDGs on WSS
  • Potential for field testing methodologies in relation to particular water issues and human rights that could be exported to other countries or regions (e.g., water conflicts, post conflict areas, intense presence of minorities and risks of discrimination)
  • Feasibility and opportunity criteria to develop and implement concrete national projects in the future (community capacity and willingness for such activity, national capacity and interest, potential partner and donor support, etc.)

The following table provides an overview of tiers and countries, and the criteria used for grouping.

Region Suggested target countries Remarks / Criteria
First tier
Central Asia Tajikistan - Foreseen pilot for global WATSAN assessment project

- New regional IWRM project; EUWI pilot country (planned 2009) - Strong support from CO - (rural) WSS activities planned - PRSP

South Caucasus Georgia - Active UNDP human rights and justice portfolio (HR focal point)


Western CIS Bosnia and Herzegovina - Foreseen pilot for global WATSAN assessment project

- Large UNDP project on HRBA and local governance - MDG project (One UNCT approach) with focus on environment - PRSP

Eastern Europe Ukraine, including Crimea - Pilot country under PWH

- Crimea Integrated Development Project - Human rights advisor for the UNCT

Eastern Europe Moldova - Pilot country under PWH; significant donor-focus, including on water; EUWI pilot country (past)

- UNCT trained on HRBA - Human rights advisor for the UNCT should be deployed shortly - PRSPR

Others Turkey - Active UNDP human rights and justice portfolio
Second tier
Central Asia Kyrgyzstan - New regional IWRM project; EUWI pilot country (upcoming)

- human rights advisor for the UNCT - PRSP

South Caucasus Azerbaijan - PRSP
Western CIS Serbia - Recent agreement with the EU which will probably imply an approximation strategy.


Third tier
Central Asia Kazakhstan / Uzbekistan / Turkmenistan - UZB: New national IWRM project;

- TM: EUWI pilot country (planned 2009)

South Caucasus Armenia - Already lots of water works done (could also be a pro); EUWI pilot country (past)

- UNDP staff trained on HRBA in 2006 - PRSP

Western CIS Montenegro - Montenegro is a leader on environment in this region


Eastern Europe Belarus
Others Cyprus - Interesting due to ethnic tensions

Entry points and opportunities for partnership

Entry points for UNDP to build partnerships could occur via different scenarios:

• Creation of partnerships with on-going projects, or organisations/institutions carrying out or supporting projects (e.g., during the second phase of implementation), for UNDP to provide specific expertise in HRBA mainstreaming. The creation of such partnerships could already take place in the planning process of these projects; • Introduction of specific, additional HRBA streams (project components, modules, activities, phases, etc.) in on-going projects carried out by UNDP and/or third organisations: UNDP may provide expertise and/or channel financial support from donors to analyse on-going projects or programmes and suggest improvements (including modifications if needed) from a HRBA perspective; • Development and implementation of UNDP stand-alone projects, financed by donors on specific issues to implement a HRBA and/or provisions under the UNECE Protocol on Water & Health.

Opportunities for Partnership

The current activities and priorities of the major actors in the region show significant opportunities for partnership. Different international and regional organisations are very active in the water sector. Special emphasis should be placed on UN agencies with whom a One-UN approach could be envisaged. Most of the UN agencies have a specific interest in Water and Human Rights issues. The already broad experience of these agencies in water, development and human right related projects could serve as a good basis for a One-UN approach.

UNECE has a key role as a communication platform, especially via the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes and its Protocol on Water and Health.

UNICEF has a global programme on water, environment and sanitation, focusing on water supply for communities as well as capacity building for institutions. UNICEF follows a human rights based approach and works closely with local communities, including woman and children.

UNEP has a specific Water Policy and Strategy, whose implementation is supported by the Collaborating Centre on Water and Environment, a centre of expertise of UNEP.

The World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe operates a programme on water and sanitation, part of WHO’s global water and sanitation work. The Regional Office provides the joint secretariat for the Protocol on Water and Health (together with UNECE). In addition, the Regional Office works with eight collaborating centres in charge of issues ranging from the protection of drinking water sources to water management and risk communication. WHO is mostly working on non-piped, community and household systems: small scale water supply systems and on small community water supply management.

The recent expansion of the EU and its objective of strengthening cooperation with near neighbours is leading to a considerable increase in the role of the EU in the region, mainly through technical assistance for capacity building and policy and legal support. The EU is also a driver for cooperation between donors and other key players through initiatives such as:

• the EU Water Initiative – EECCA component, a multi-stakeholder platform that aims to strengthen coordination and identify additional financial resources and mechanisms to ensure sustainable financing in the water sector, and focuses on improving the management of water resources through two thematic pillars: water supply and sanitation and integrated water resources management (IWRM); • the DABLAS Task Force, which provides a platform between IFIs, donors and beneficiaries to leverage investment projects for the protection of water and water-related ecosystems of the Danube and Black Sea and to prioritise the necessary environmental investments in the region.

For example, partnership can be developed with EU Water Initiative on capacity building for civil society organisations and local administration, as well as developing multi-stakeholder dialogue platforms.

The OECD oversees a Programme on Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This programme is part of the OECD’s work to implement the Environment Strategy for Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA), a document endorsed by ministers at the 2004 Kiev Environment for Europe Conference. The Water Supply and Sanitation Programme assists countries in implementing municipal water reform and, specifically, in developing recommendations for legal and institutional reforms, tariff reform, financial management of utilities and customer protection and involvement in decision-making. In August 2007, the Programme published a report on the results of its work in recent years: “Financing water supply and sanitation in EECCA countries and progress in achieving the water-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”.

In view of the critical role water plays in agriculture, and of the prominent role of agriculture in global water use, FAO considers inter-sectoral collaboration in the field of freshwater of utmost importance in the world’s efforts to reaching all the Millennium Development Goals, in particular those related to Goal 1 “Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger” and Goal 7 “Ensure environmental sustainability”. In 2006, FAO was elected Chair of UN-Water for the period 2007- 2008. FAO expertise is particularly relevant in countries where water management in agriculture is a key issue, e.g., irrigation in Central Asia countries such as Tajikistan.

A good example of a common initiative between different partners is the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC), under which umbrella several projects have been undertaken or are planned with regard to management of shared water resources. Established in 2003, ENVSEC members are UNDP, UNEP, OSCE, UNECE and the Regional Environment Centre for Central and Eastern Europe (REC). NATO is an associate member.

Bilateral donors such as Germany (GTZ/BMZ), Switzerland (SDC/seco), UK Department for International Development (DFID), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), Swedish Development Assistance (SIDA), USAID, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), but also emerging donors (Slovak Aid, Czech Trust Fund, Turkey) are active in the region.

IFIs’ involvement, e.g. the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Asian Development Back (ADB) is quite significant in the region even if it is far too little to cover the total investment needs. In EECCA countries, potentially in Central Asia countries, the EBRD will co-finance EIB transaction[13].

At present, one of the main challenges in the region is the expected decreasing role of GEF, as less funding is allocated to the International Water focal area for the next replenishment period with a refocusing on chemicals and climate change. Some major GEF projects in the region recently ended, e.g., the Danube/Black Sea Strategic Partnership.



  • Overall expected outcome / impact
  • specific objectives (outputs & activities)
  • beneficiaries / target groups

Workplan, management arrangements and estimated budget

Regional activities

Phase 0: Programme development and launch

Specific tasks include
  • Development of background material (regional baseline analysis), methodology, regional umbrella programme
  • Pilot testing methodology and in particular country assessment tools (checklists)
  • Submission and endorsement of overarching Regional Programme
  • Development of knowledge management basis (WaterWiki toolbox)
  • Advocacy, partners and resource mobilization (for regional activities and in prospect of emerging specific national-level project and activities)
4-6 months
  • USD 50,000
  • UNDP co-funding (Bratislava Regional Centre & headquarter): 100%

Programme support, oversight and management

Specific tasks include
  • Launch, inception and management of regional programme (incl. expert and consultant recruitment, as needed)
  • CO support for development, launching and implementation of projects & activities emerging in the framework of this programme (incl. oversight and reporting functions in case of regional partnerships and/or donor-relations)
  • Initiation (and follow-up as adequate from) mid-term and final evaluations
  • Knowledge management: promoting and facilitation exchange of experience, consolidation of results at regional level, adequate codification and dissemination of emerging knowledge (i.a. via WaterWiki), support to regional events (see next chapter), etc.
up to 6 years
  • USD 50,000-100,000 per year
  • UNDP co-funding (Bratislava Regional Centre & headquarter): 100%

Regional Conferences

In addition to the work under the various phases, it is suggested to organize up to two regional conferences ; one in the middle of the implementation of the regional programme, and the other towards the end. These regional conferences could be organized back-to-back with the mid-term and final evaluations, and would serve as stakeholder consultation and experience-sharing opportunities. The first conference (approximately mid-term of the programme) will also constitute a means of verifying findings from the a mid-term evaluation of the regional programme, and decide on needed follow-up action or amendments of the overall programme based on the specific recommendations, and could be an opportunity to also reconsider the selection or sequencing of target countries over the remaining implementation period of the programme. This would give flexibility in order to react on political changes and other situations at national or rehional level, as well as emerging developments in the donor or political geography in the region. Another objective of the year 3 conference is to identify new opportunities or potential partners. The main aim of the final conference would be to review results and experiences, draw final conclusions and develop recommendations for future cooperation activities, or the scale-up or “export” of the methodology and approach to other rehions in the world, as adequate, based on the lessons learnt during the implementation of the regional programme.

2 x 6-10 months (including preparation phase, conduction and follow-up phase)
  • 2 x USD 50,000-75,000
  • UNDP co-funding (tbc): ~ up to 30%

Schematic (phased) country-level workplan

Intervention for each selected target country will be implemented in three phases (see also Fig. 1 above, and workplan in the annex):

Phase 1: Country Desk Analysis

The first phase will be initiated and conducted mainly at regional level, with ad-hoc involvement of Country Office and other stakeholders, as adequate.

Specific tasks include
  • Diagnosis of Country situation: Assessment of the situation with checklists
  • Identification of potential needs and opportunities (in the 4 areas of concern)
  • First stakeholder consultations, as needed and adequate
  • Development of TOR and preparations for Phase 2
The expected outputs from this phase would include
  • Draft checklist / country analysis
  • TOR and workplan for next phase
2-4 months per country
  • USD20,000-40,000 per country
  • UNDP co-funding (Bratislava Regional Centre): ~ USD 5,000-10,000

Phase 2: In-depth country assessment, priority identification and specific project or intervention development

This second phase, mainly conducted at national level, will build on the conclusions of the country desk assessment to prioritize identified needs and potential activities, based on verification and stakeholder consultations, and design specific projects or mainstreaming interventions.

Specific tasks include
  • In-depth analysis of country situation, with special focus on emerging key areas and issues (verification of checklists)
  • Extended consultation with all relevant stakeholders to review the country assessment and establish priorities
  • Development / selection of projects or specific programme areas where mainstreaming opportunities are possible, respectively
  • Drafting of project document, terms of reference, work plans (including benchmarks and indicators for measuring progress and achievements)
  • Partners and resource mobilisation
  • Project submission and follow-up
The expected outputs from this phase would include
  • Concrete project proposals, including for:
    • Legal projects to include HRBA into the legislation, such as development or amendment of concession legislation, public procurement or water-related legislation.
    • Projects to empower the local communities and NGOs
    • Projects to empower local, regional or national authorities (institution building, awareness raising in independent bodies to include HRBA), including training
  • TOR, works plans or programmes in support of mainstreaming activities: e.g., writing discussion papers for inclusion of HRBA in specific activities
  • Partnerships and mobilized resources
4-6 months
  • USD 50,000-100,000 per country
  • UNDP co-funding (Country Office): ~ 10,000-20,000

Phase 3: Launch and implementation of individual (national or local) projects and interventions

The specific tasks for each project or intervention will be developed during the previous phases. A typical project or intervention would typically include the following sub-phases:

  • Launch (endorsement, recruitment or procurement)
  • Inception
  • Implementation
  • Reporting and monitoring
  • Ex-post project evaluation (if applicable)

The three cross-cutting issues – equality and non-discrimination, participation and inclusion, and accountability and rule of law - should be respected during the project implementation. See methodology for national projects in Annex II. This implies, inter alia, stakeholders’ involvement (e.g., consultations at inception, mid-term implementation and ex-post evaluation) ensuring an equitable representation.


Estimated overall budget

(all costs in 1,000 USD)

Activity Item Cost Yrea 1 Per each following year total Sources / Comments
(2-3 target countries) (2-4 countries) (10-20 countries)
Phase 1: Mapping & baseline
Phase2: Assessment & Project Development • In-depth country assessment
• Stakeholder workshops
• Prodoc development

150-300 200-400 700-2,000 Specific CO: 10-20 each
Ext donors: 40-100 each
Nat govts: 10-30 each (in-kind)
Phase 3: Project implementation Individual 0 Tbc Tbd Individual budgets (outside this frame)
Regional activities:
• Phase 0: Programme development
• Programme support, management, oversight
• mid-term & final evaluations
• Regional conference(s)



(2 x 50-75)

Up to 250
- 50 pre-invented already (into phase 0)
- Up to add. 20/year
Ext donors: 250-350
TOTAL (reg. programme only; excl. individual national projects) 270-490 300-500 1,000-3,500 BRC: 150-300
COs: min. 150-200
Ext donors: 700-3,200

Management arrangement, roles and responsibilities


Portfolio and overall workplan

The following work plan shows the sequence of the three different phases over the six years duration of the Regional Programme. The target countries are identified in the work plan but this selection is flexible and the provisional order can be changed and additional countries added if deemed necessary. The work plan tries to be realistic in the timeframes proposed.

The first line of the workplan gives an example which could be applied to the remaining countries, although shorter implementation periods may be foreseen.

Applied to a country (e.g., Moldova) the workplan will work as follows:

  • Phase 1 (Country desk analysis) could last from January to March.
  • Phase 2 (In-depth country assessment and identification / development of projects) could be from June up to October, depending on the needs identified.
  • Phase 3 (launch and implementation of specific projects) will take place in year 2 and onwards.

New contracting periods may be needed at a later date for additional projects which have been identified during phase 2 but which are not carried out until a later stage in the implementation period (e.g., during year 3). This approach allows flexibility so that if new priorities are identified or new projects ideas emerge they can be taken into account during the six-year implementation period.


  1. The principles of human dignity, equality and equity– the basis of human rights development and theory—are at the heart of the MDGs. In addition, the Millennium Declaration makes a specific commitment “to strive for the full protection and promotion in all our countries of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights for all”. The MDGs also give an opportunity to support governments to meet these commitments, both legal (such as human rights standards anchored in international instruments) and political (the MDGs)
  2. WHO and UNICEF, Meeting the MDG drinking water and sanitation target: the urban and rural challenge of the decade (2006)
  3. UN Doc E/C.12/2002/11 (2003). For an overview of the literature on the subject, see: M. Langford, ‘Tragedy or Triumph of the Commons? Human Rights and the World Water Crises’, Human Rights 2006: The Year in Review (Melbourne: Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, University of Monash, 2007)
  4. UNDP Human Development Report, Beyond Scarcity, p. 3
  5. The others being: Cooperation on transboundary waters, Adaptation to climate change, Global and regional advocacy & collaboration on water governance
  6. OECD, EAP Task Force, Financing Water Supply and Sanitation in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (2005)
  7. The OECD report indicates that the official MDG Target 10 progress monitoring system – JMP provides a reassuring picture of the WSS sector in the EECCA region but it is misleading because (1) it is technology-based and do not capture issues such as quality, reliability and sustainability; (2) there is no baseline against which progress can be measured since population data for 1990 is generally missing; (3) limited data collection raise serious questions about the reliability of the JMP’s coverage estimates; and (4) evidence from other sources suggests that WSS sector in the EECCA region is actually in crisis. See OECD Report, Chapter 3 Meeting the Millennium Development Goals for Drinking Water and Sanitation Target in the EECCA Region: A Goal within a reach?, p.45
  8. Centre on Housing Rig
  9. Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAs), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDS) and UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), Manual on the Right to Water and Sanitation, A tool to assist policy makers and practitioners develop strategies for implementing the human right to water and sanitation, 2007
  10. OECD Report, p.24
  11. See Lobina, Emanuele and David Hall Water in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Accountable, Effective, Sustainable and Democratic, August 2002.
  12. See for example Article 5(2) of the Convention on the Law of the non-navigational uses of international watercourses: “Watercourses States shall participate in the use, development and protection of an international watercourse in an equitable and reasonable manner. Such participation includes both the right to utilise the watercourse and the duty to cooperate in the protection and development thereof, as provided in the present Convention”
  13. All transaction will have to meet both EIB and EBRD conditions, including environmental standards. In addition, while EBRD is revising its Environmental Policy and its Public Information Policy, EIB is undertaking a similar exercise for its Environmental and Social Statement

See also

A Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) to Improve Water Governance in Europe & CIS - Project page

External resources


 WG Meeting Protocol Water & Health geneva 27Jun08.ppt - Presentation of the programme at the Protocol on Water & Health Meeting, Geneva June 2008:

 HRBA to WatGov Programme - Juerg Staudenmann- WWW 2008 Stockholm 20Aug08-final.ppt - Presentation at Stockholm World Water Week 2008, SIWI Session on Right to Water:

 HRBA2WatGov E&E-CoP-2008 JuergStaudenmann 14Oct08.ppt

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