Applying Principles in Practice



Typical Life Cycle of a WSI

The framework below presents a life cycle of the more formalized multi-stakeholder WSIs that are the focus of this work.

For each WSI life-cycle phase, we describe key activities to consider pursuing to operationalize the principles presented. Utilize the guiding questions, which have been mapped to key activities as signposts, to determine where gaps, weaknesses in analysis, processes, or even communications might need to be addressed during that phase. Key activities are then hyperlinked to relevant supporting tools to help you implement the activities.

We recognize that in the real world, activities will not always fit precisely within the WSI life-cycle phase assigned. The aim is to indicate a general flow of key activities in a relative, though not necessarily linear or prescriptive, sequence.

WSI Framework Phase 1 - Incubation and Initial Analysis Phase 2 - Formalization Phase 3 - Implementation Phase 4 - Completion, Renewal, or Upscaling

A WSI’s incubation and preliminary scoping focuses on the actions that a WSI initiator takes to understand the local context, local water-related challenges, the potential participants, and necessary resources for actions to occur. It requires preliminary commitment (in the form of both monetary and personnel resources) to collective action by the actor or set of actors. This should result in a basic understanding of the local water issues, the possible interventions and objectives of the WSI, and potential participants (including understanding their basic incentives, track records, capacities, etc.). Once some of this initial scoping occurs, usually WSIs expand beyond a small group of organizations to determine whether the envisioned WSI is the best option to address the local water challenge and serve the public interest. The WSI would then undergo a thorough context and stakeholder analysis. The participatory context analysis reviews the nature of the water governance landscape and other contextual factors that would shape a collective action. The stakeholder analysis focuses on understanding the perspectives, needs, and interests of key stakeholder groups. This phase results in a decision of whether to pursue the WSI as well as with whom and how the WSI should engage (as participants or as external stakeholders) to balance differing interests.

Key Guiding Questions

  • Have stakeholders with a significant ability to influence the outcomes of the WSI been identified? Have affected stakeholders influenced by the WSI been identified?
  • Have WSI participants’ track records, incentives, and intentions been sufficiently analyzed?
  • Are government roles clearly defined in relation to achieving water-related public policy objectives?
  • Do public institutions have the capacity and resources to deliver on these stated objectives?
  • Are the WSI’s objectives and activities aligned with public policy goals and objectives, and do they structurally support the development of the public sector’s ability to manage water resources? Have public interest benefits been explicitly outlined?
Phase 1 Key Activities
This phase focuses on two dimensions of formalization: the objectives and activities of a WSI and its basic structure. Typically this includes formalizing a shared understanding of local water challenges and opportunities for action among WSI participants. During this phase, the desired outcomes, intentions, and public interest benefits of the initiative are specified. The phase should also determine the geographic scope and scale of the initiative, and the key functions, activities, and/or solutions the initiative will undertake. This culminates in assigning responsibilities to WSI participants and determining financial commitments (taking into account participants’ interests and capacities), specifying institutional links, and planning for any deficiencies. This phase also focuses on understanding and establishing the degree of formality of the WSI in order to plan for implementation, the decision-making approach and process, the responsibility boundaries, the process time frame, and the underlying legal, regulatory, or policy factors that may affect the procedural aspects of the WSI. This includes undertaking financial planning, establishing the necessary transparency and accountability measures, building in WSI adaptation provisions, and establishing closure expectations. As a result, the governance of the WSI is clarified and established.

Key Guiding Questions

  • Have public sector stakeholders’ mandates been respected, and have those stakeholders been actively involved in setting the objectives and activities of the WSI?
  • Are affected stakeholders contributing to the design and implementation of the WSI?
  • Has the problem analysis sufficiently clarified the root causes and nature of the challenges that the WSI seeks to address? Have the opportunities for progress and the risks facing the WSI in delivering these outcomes been properly understood?
  • Have participants clearly defined the scope and objectives of the WSI, as well as its benefits for the public interest and for each participant?
  • Has the justification for the WSI been effectively communicated to all participants and affected stakeholders? Do channels exist to capture feedback?
  • Have the capabilities and constraints of each participant been properly assessed, and a needs assessment conducted? How will the WSI deal with capacity deficits?
  • Have roles and responsibilities for all activities and coordination tasks been appropriately shared?
  • Have participants agreed on management and decision-making processes, and on how to handle communications and financial issues?
  • How equitable is the decision-making process?
  • How does the WSI explicitly value honesty? Are agreed procedures held up as a reference for behavior?
Phase 2 Key Activities
This phase focuses on the actual implementation of project activities, including ongoing monitoring of stated activities against objectives, evaluating for potential deficiencies and capture risks, and identifying areas for ongoing learning and amendments to the WSI.

Key Guiding Questions

  • How are the quality of the representation and engagement of stakeholders monitored? Are actions taken to balance various interests where needed?
  • How is adherence to agreed procedures being effectively monitored? Are shortcomings properly addressed?
  • Have participants had the opportunity to discuss, challenge, and improve the logic behind how the WSI will contribute to more sustainable water management?
  • Is an M&E system in place to track progress of the WSI and readjust the course of the program as needed?
  • Do communication mechanisms provide sufficient information on the performance of the WSI?
Phase 3 Key Activities
This phase focuses on evaluating the WSI process and implementation, as well as determining next steps for a WSI, the plans for its completion, and the necessary arrangements to ensure its sustainability over a longer time frame.

Key Guiding Questions

  • Is an M&E system in place to track progress of the WSI and readjust the course of the program as needed?
  • Have agreed M&E mechanisms led to effective tracking of new integrity risks?
  • Has an appropriate exit strategy been designed?
  • Do communication mechanisms provide sufficient information on the performance of the WSI?
Phase 4 Key Activities

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