Resources for Designing A National Water Governance Programme


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Primer / Resources for Designing A National Water Governance Programme | Coordination mechanisms

This article gives information on reports, websites, organisations, articles etc on water governance. This article complements the Primer on Designing A National Water Governance Programme


UNDP and UN publications and resources

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

Mainstreaming Gender in Water Management, A Practical Journey to Sustainability: A Resource Guide, 2003 - This guide is a reference document to assist staff in mainstreaming gender within the context of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). It builds on existing initiatives by summarizing the available tools and materials on gender mainstreaming in IWRM. It is meant to stimulate further reading and research.

World Water Development Report 2003

Chapter 15, Governing Water Wisely for sustainable development (contributed by UNDP) - The chapter defines Water Governance; lists criteria for effective water governance; names examples of water governance issues; discusses who owns water; depicts frameworks for IWRM, explains pros and cons of water decentralization and participation and public-private partnerships; and elaborates on financing water governance.

IW:LEARN: The GEF-International Waters Knowledge Base: focusing on transboundary water issues

UNMillenniumsProject: Final Report of the Task Force on Water and Sanitation, 2004- Framework and updated information on poverty-water management linkages

A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals, 2004 - By outlining practical investment strategies and approaches to financing them, the report presents an operational framework that will allow even the poorest countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD): Intergovernmental decisions on water frameworks and policies: The CSD, based on two-year cycles with a clear set of thematic issues, provides the global community with a unique opportunity to focus in-depth attention on specific issues. The cycle 2004-2205 focuses on water issues, sanitation and human settlements. The policy reports produced present the lowest common denominator of international water politics and provide general guidance on strategic issues within the policy sector.

CSD 12, 2004 – Review year of water policies: Secretary-General Report on Freshwater management: progress in meeting the goals, targets and commitments of Agenda 21, the Programme for the further Impelementation of agenda 21, and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation
CSD 13, 2005 – Policy Year on water policies: Secretary-general report on Freshwater Management: policy options and possible actions to expedite implementation

UNDP partnerships on Water Governance

Global Water Partnership (GWP): The GWP Toolbox on IWRM

Handbook: Catalyzing Change: A handbook for developing integrated water resources management and water efficiency strategies: A Handbook for governments on the practical steps for making national water management strategies needed to support their efforts towards the sustainable economic development required to reach the MDGs - Spanish Powerpoint presentation
Integrated Water Resources Management ToolBox: a practical guide to help water users, managers and policy makers improve water resources management. It is a comprehensive source of knowledge, experience and guidance for sustainable water resources development and management including service provision. The ToolBox draws together experience and shares knowledge in implementing IWRM, worldwide. References, organizations, resource persons and relevant websites are provided for each set of tools, and it is designed to be continually updated and evolving with feedback from its users. The ToolBox offers experience with three sets of tools: the enabling environment – policies, legislation, finance and incentive structures; institutional roles – organizational frameworks and institutional capacity building; management instruments – water resource assessments; plans for IWRM; demand management; conflict resolution; social change, regulatory, and economic instruments; and information management and exchange.
GWP Technical Papers No. 4: Integrated Water Resources Management, 2000
Capacity Building Network for Integrated Water Resources Management (Cap-Net): a project implemented by UNDP together with the Global Water Partnership and UNESCO’s Institute for Water Education. The networking and information-sharing made possible by Cap-Net helps promote access to global, regional and national resource centers, training and resource materials. The program supports 12 regional and national networks of water-management capacity-building institutions around the world, each network consisting of hundreds of member institutions.
Integrated Water Resources Management Plans - Training Manual: This training material is intended for a 3-4 day course on how to achieve a water resources management plan that brings in the principles of IWRM. This training module is to assist people in those countries embarking on the development of a water resources management strategy or a water resources management plan. The materials are linked particularly to the initiatives being taken up by the Global Water Partnership (GWP).

Intersectoral policies and dialogues:

Dialogue on Effective Water Governance: Through this initiative, UNDP, together with GWP (Global Water Partnership) and ICLEI (The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives), supports regional and national “round tables” as well as programme development to improve national and local water governance and IWRM.

Governance, Learning from the Dialogues : this report was prepared for 3rd World Water Forum in Japan, 2003 - the outputs of the Dialogue are included in the report, reflecting water governance in a changing world reporting on political processes in governance and analyses of governance in countries and regions, and the identification of new case studies.

International Institute on Water Management, Sri Lanka: The Dialogue on Water, Food and the Environment: The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is the lead partner guiding an international dialogue on competing water uses: a dialogue on Water, Food and Environment, which brings together agricultural and environmental communities to find ways of managing water to meet the needs of both. The DWFE is not a funding mechanism, but a program that strongly advocates creating conditions for multi-stakeholders processes, coordinates action, collect and synthesize knowledge that enable social learning to collectively resolve water issues. Training material (Spanish, French, English), documentation of dialogues etc. can be assessed at

Legislation and Policies:

International Water Law Project (IWLP), 2003: This site has a lot of valuable examples, many downloadable, of legal documents. They cover a range of water issues and include analytical papers.

African Water Laws: Plural Legislative Frameworks for Rural Water Management in Africa: An international workshop co-organised by: the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) of the University of Greenwich, the Faculty of Law of the University of Dar-es-Salaam, and the South African Department of Water Afairs and Forestry, Johannesburg, South Africa, 26-28 January 2005 - Presentations can be downloaded.

Water Governance – What is the consensus? ODI / ESRC-funded seminar on The Water Consensus - Identifying the Gaps, Bradford Centre for International Development, Bradford University, 18-19 November 2004: The short paper discusses the current confusion of what Water Governance actually is and how it differs from other water strategy concepts.

Examples of National Water Strategies and Laws (with and without UNDP involvement)

Europe & CIS

This section will be complemented soon. In the meantime check the National Pages for info

National IWRM and Water Efficiency Plan for Kazakhstan

Latin America

Brazil: Law of Water Resources Policy, 1997: The law is still to be regulated, before it can become completely effective, but it was the result of many years of discussion among politicians and the different sectors that represent the major uses of water in the country. The main features of the law are: adoption of the watershed (basin) as the planning unit for water use; introduction of the multi-use concept; all users will have equal access to water use, with priority given to population domestic use; recognition of water as a limited, finite and vulnerable good; recognition of the economic value of water and therefore entitled to be charged for (principle of the “user payer” and the “polluter payer”); proposal for a decentralised and participatory management, in which individual users, civil society and other social organizations will be able to influenceon the decision making process; the law also created some important new figures, such as : a national policy of water resources; a national council of water resources; concession of rights for water use; water charges; WATER RESOURCES POLICY IN BRAZIL – the paper provides an interesting overview about the development of the new Brazilian Water Law and Water Policy ANA: National Water Agency of Brazil: excellent website in portugues & English

Mexico: Water Bill/Proyecto de Decreto and Water Law/Ley de Aguas Nacionales: The new Water Bill became law in April 2004 (in amended form) and is designed to strengthen the framework for water management in Mexico. Previous experience has suggested that operation of water and river basin management bodies in Mexico presented a considerable challenge. The Law includes measures for increasing participation in water decisions by non-governmental as well as governmental bodies. The new Law opened up possibilities for developing water and river basin management bodies which can address the pressing challenges of water resources management which exist in many regions of the country.

Asia and the Pacific


Burkina Faso: Action Plan for Integrated Resources Management, 2003 : A good example of an IWRM plan which sets the course of action for the country to achieve water management goals - the outputs are well structured and matched by well judged actions. A good foundation for other plans to build on.

South Africa: National Water Resources Strategy, 2004 : South Africa has been at the forefront of national water sector reforms and produced a valuable range of documentation to support the introduction of sustainable management of its water resources. The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry offers an excellent website which allows to download water policy documents, action plans and related legislation.

Tanzania: National Water Sector Strategy, 2002: the Government launched a revised National Water Policy in July 2002, which sets out the future direction for the Water Sector. The Policy embodies the principles of decentralisation and devolution of water supply management to the lowest appropriate level. Following the launching of the National Water Policy, the National Water Sector Development Strategy has been prepared in order to further develop the Policy aspiration and define an implementation framework

Zambia: Legal and Institutional Framework, 2000: An example from Zambia of the process and decisions used in the revision of the water law to establish an appropriate institutional structure for the management of water resources.

Zimbabwe: Water Bill, 1998: This is an example of water legislation which embodies the principles of integrated water resources management and creates structures to manage water at the basin level. The new Water Law of Zimbabwe delegates catchment management responsibilities and day-to-day duties of water rights allocation and administration to stakeholder-elected catchment councils. Each catchment council is composed of sub-catchment councils, composed of local water user groups and associations. National Water Authority Act, 1998: The Act provides for the formation of a national water authority and specifies, among other things, how it will be funded from water charges and link to stakeholder institutions.

Arab states

Yemen: Water Resources Management, 1996 -2004, Project Support Document, prepared by Government of the Netherlands & UNDP

Jordan: Water Strategy for Jordan: In 2002 an Action plan was launched that has been developed and agreed on with the donor community including UNDP. International agreements under Sustainable Development have been included as part of the Government agenda such as Biodiversity, Desertification and Agenda 21.

Transboundary Water Management plans and strategies

Southern African Development Community (SADC): Revised Protocol on Shared Water Resources in the Southern African Development Community, 2001 - A good example of an international agreement for the management of transboundary waters.

Cap-Net: A Strategic Guide for the Constitution of an International Inter-State Commission for Shared Water, 2004 - The document is a summary of chapter 4 of "Proposal for a Strategic Guide to Assist in the Constitution of International Inter-State Commissions for Shared Water Resources" prepared by French Academie de I'Eau, (2000). The purpose of the document is to propose strategies for constituting a commission between countries that share the same basin in order to ensure that water resources are managed efficiently.

World Meteorological Organisation (WMO): Integrated Flood Management, Concept Paper, 2004

GEF International Waters projects

Decentralisation and local governance of water resources

ICLEI - International Council on Local Environment Initiatives: The Water Campaign: ICLEI's Water Campaign, launched in June 2000 is designed to assist local governments in their efforts to manage water sustainably. The campaign provides a framework that encourages the development of local water action plans to achieve tangible improvements in local water quality, conservation and access. The Water Campaign has been successfully launched in Australia where more than 60 local governments have signed up to the campaign since its regional launch in 2001. The Campaign has also taken off in the Philippines and Africa

ICLEI Philippines case study
Local Government Implementation Guide for the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the Millennium Development Goals Volume 1: Water, Sanitation and Human Settlements: The Local Government Implementation Guide is an online resource for local governments interested in pursuing the goals and targets of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and Millennium Development Goals.
Case studies on decentralization of water supply and sanitation services in Latin America: A report commissioned by USAID - The case studies include management models for Small Towns; institutional arrangements for rural communities; regulation of water supply and sanitation services in small towns (El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Paraguay).

Pro-poor policies

World Panel on Financing Water for Infrastructure, also called Camdessus Panel, was active 2001-2003, and presented its final report "Financing Water for All" at the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto. The Panel's objective was to address ways and means of attracting new financial resources to the water field. Concretely, the Panel tried to answer the question: "How to find appropriate financial resources for the achievement of the two Millennium Development Goals for water access and sanitation?" The "Financing Water for All" report provides a review of the evolution of a consensus, the status on infrastructure and financing, the roots of the problem, and a full list of recommendations.

Innovative Strategies for Water and Sanitation for the Poor - Access and Affordability, background paper, International Conference on Freshwater, Germany 2001

Public-Private Partnerships

Public-Private Partnerships for the Urban Environment (PPPUE): aimes at increasing the access of the urban poor to basic services such as water supply and sanitation by promoting collaboration among the public and private sectors (which includes local, national, and international businesses as well as informal enterprises) and engaging nongovernmental organizations and communities as active partners. PPPUE runs three National Programmes (in Nepal, Namibia and Uganda) and 12 Innovative Partnership Grant projects (in Mauritania, Mozambique, South Africa, Russia, Ukraine, Argentina, Haiti, Peru, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia and the Philippines). PPPUE provides policy advice on PPP related activities to UNDP country offices.

PPPUE offers a website with interesting and well-written short case study descriptions on PPP projects worldwide in the water and sanitation sector:

UNESCO-IHE / Cap-Net: Private Sector Participation in Implementation of IWRM Principles, 2004: The study looks into the private organizations participation in the implementation of IWRM principles, describing the cases of Tanzania, South Africa, and France.

Global Water Scoping Process: Following the Freshwater Conference in Germany 2001, a working group, formed from organisations with widely differing backgrounds and views on private sector participation, explored the case for a multistakeholder review of private sector participation (PSP) in water and sanitation.

From a more critical NGO perspective

WaterAid: New roles, new rules - does private sector participation benefit the poor? 2003: This paper looks at WaterAid and Tearfund's research into the impact of private sector participation on the lives of rural and urban poor communities in nine developing countries (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda). This research has highlighted four areas of fundamental concern that need to be addressed if the new arrangements between governments, business and civil society are to work:

Report for Water Aid, International Financial Institutions (IFI), Conditionality and Privatisation of Water and Sanitation Systems, August 2003: This report examines the influence of the IFIs on governments’ policy deliberations and whether this influence is closing down space for national debate, particularly about possible alternative means of service provision.
Advocacy guide to private sector involvement in water services: This guide, produced jointly by Tearfund and WaterAid, aims to inform and equip NGOs and other civil society organizations to engage with water policy reform processes that involve the private sector.

International Funding Sources

CAP-NET, International Funding Programmes in the Water Sector: This document is an excellent overview about all relevant funding sources in the water sector- the overview offers a structurized database of funds and accompanying institutions with the basic information on currently available programmes. The database consists of four main blocks: World Wide Fund, Financial Institutions, European Community Funds and Local Funds.

EU Water Facility (only eligible for ACP countries): The EU launched its 500 million EURO Water Facility for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries - its single biggest EU allocation ever for Water and Sanitation projects at the WSSD: The objective of the proposed water facility is to boost the sustainable delivery of infrastructure and to improve IWRM practices in ACP countries, through: Improving water management and gocernance in ACP countries; Co-financing water and sanitation infrastructure; Co-financing civil society initiatives for smale scale operations in poor urban and rural areas The first round of 250 million Euro have been committed, the second round will start in 2005. The EU Water Facility has also a Latin American Component.

Financing Transboundary Water Management, 2002 - This policy brief, commissioned by the Swedish Government, looks at the issue of financing transboundary water management. It begins with a snapshot of the current funding situation within the water sector, then makes the case for process-financing and examines innovative financing options appropriate to particular stages in transboundary management, and finally suggests appropriate roles for donors and governments.

UNDP PPPUE Trust Fund allows donors to contribute to PPPUEs general activities or to specific projects, such as water, sanitation, waste projects etc. in an urban environment.

UNDP Local Initiative Facility or Urban Environment (L.I.F.E.) Programme: The project supports the building of local partnerships to tackle urban poverty and improve the condition of the urban environment. Contact information: BDP Governance Group.

Multi-Bilateral donors: Canada (CIDA), the Netherlands, Norway, the United States of America (USAID) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) are providing or considering support through the GWP to various strategy development processes. Other donors, such as Denmark, Germany and the UK, are providing support for IWRM strategy development and implementation directly to countries through their bilateral processes.


See also

Primer on Designing A National Water Governance Programme

External Resources


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