Improving water governance for betting water services delivery workshop


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Event Title

“Improving water governance for better water services delivery: Learning and sharing experiences”

Date and Location

February 2009, Plock, Poland

Subject Focus Areas/Organiser(s)

1. Empowering stakeholders for local water governance

Governance is about the processes by which decisions are made and implemented. It is the result of interactions, relationships and networks between the different sectors (government, public sector, private sector and civil society) with the purpose of ensuring optimal services. It involves decisions, negotiation, and different power relations between stakeholders to determine who gets what, when and how. Good governance involves constructive co-operation between the different sectors where the result is efficient use of resources, responsible use of power, and effective and sustainable service provision. The challenge is to understand what good governance means at the local level for improved water services delivery and how to achieve it. Many stakeholders are involved, not only government, but all those with a legitimate interest in the outcome of the decision-making process, including governmental organizations, service providers, capacity building organizations, contributors of finance, the users of services and organizations that support them. Governance emerges from the formal and informal relationships that exist between people, institutions and government.

The workshop will focus on ways to improve good governance, and give participants the opportunity to share how inclusive their practices are and how they interact with other stakeholders.

2. Improving local water governance through effective decentralization

Many governments have embarked upon schemes to decentralize authority to the regional (state or provincial) and municipal levels. Sub-national governments now have significant but varying degrees of responsibility for service delivery in areas such as water, education, health, housing and law and order.

  • Strengthening local government capacity involves obtaining a better balance between national responsibility and local choice in service delivery; developing metropolitan levels of government to overcome the problems of fragmentation that exist in some big cities; and building key partnerships between the public and private sector;
  • Sufficient revenues are needed to meet funding requirements for service delivery, which may be constrained due to design problems, a lack of buoyancy, or poor collection practices. The optimal revenue arrangements will vary between countries and depend in large degree upon the capacity of local governments to manage their own finances, the nature of the services provided at the regional and local levels, and the priority given to using central revenues as a tool for mitigating regional inequalities;
  • Providing greater accountability and improved service delivery requires engaging civil society in evaluating the quality of the services they receive. Surveys of agencies can identify good and poor performance, the underlying reasons for public dissatisfaction, and corrupt practices. Such survey results provide a basis for agencies to make improvements.
The workshops will provide the opportunity for participants to share how effective the decentralization process has been in their respective countries, and whether it is enough for achieving good governance.

3. Encouraging development of tools

Good governance (transparency, efficiency, participation) can be enhanced at the municipal level through the use of ICT tools (e-Governance). e-Governance is the public sector’s use of information and communication technologies with the aim of improving information and service delivery, encouraging citizen participation in the decision-making process and making government more accountable, transparent and effective. The workshop will allow participants to share their experiences of e-Governance and other tools they have elaborated to ensure;

  • There is a systematic feedback from users of public services
  • Citizen participation is encouraged in the decision-making process

4. Public-Private-Partnerships as a catalyst for good governance

PPPs combine the best of both worlds: the private sector with its resources, management skills and technology; and the public sector with its regulatory actions and protection of the public interest. This balanced approach is especially welcome in the delivery of water services. Good governance objectives in PPPs refer to the following: (a) A fair and transparent selection process by which governments develop partnerships; (b) Assurance that value for money has been obtained; (c) An improvement of essential public services especially for the socially disadvantaged and adequate training for those to be involved in the new partnerships; (d) Fair incentives to all parties and fair returns for risk takers, combined with the achievement of commercial success; (e) Sensible negotiation of disputes that assures continuation of services and prevents the collapse of projects and consequent public waste; and (f) Enhanced security in the face of the new threats and for a general improvement in the safety of services provided under PPP arrangements. PPP’s process requires putting into place the enabling institutions, procedures and processes surrounding PPPs in order to fully benefit from PPPs. This means also helping governments to play a critical role in the process and involving citizens as well as other stakeholders (including trade unions and Businesses). Many governments, regional, international organizations and NGOs now recognize the importance of governance for economic development.

The workshop presents an opportunity for participants to discuss how good PPP's are for achieving better water governance; to share how state and local authorities, and private sectors each benefit, and highlight any difficulties they are facing.


Contact Details

Address: City Hall of Plock, Stary Rynek 1, 09-400 Plock, Poland


Lessons learned

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