Principles Related to Outcomes



Principle 1: Seek to align with, support, and strengthen public policy that advances sustainable water management; be careful not to undermine public institutions or water governance.

First and foremost, the WSI should ensure that its scope and objectives support and strengthen public policy relating to SWM. In some instances public policy, laws, and regulations may be weak, ambiguous, inconsistent, or may not be geared toward delivering SWM. In such cases reforms and review, rather than alignment, may be the priority for a WSI. Where this is the case, it will be important for the WSI to develop a constructive relationship with the government and its agencies, and to engage an appropriate range of stakeholders in a sector reform dialogue on the design, scoping, and implementation of the WSI.

However, in many instances government policy and legal provision are well aligned with the goal of SWM, and implementation is lacking. In addressing this scenario, a WSI should respect the unique roles that government institutions play in serving the public interest and ensure that the initiative’s activities complement rather than usurp or undermine ongoing public policy or water governance processes. This can be supported by a well-designed and well-conducted analysis to understand the local context and political economy, to clarify the root causes of the problem, and to devise a suitable role and design for the WSI alongside ongoing initiatives. Efforts should also be made to understand the resource limitations of public and civil society sectors in order to guard against potential capture of those sectors’ limited resources.

Effectively aligning the WSI with public policy objectives that seek to advance SWM and understanding the unique role of public institutions helps to guard against potential policy, regulatory, and resource capture. Doing so ensures that the WSI is not perceived to be dictating policy direction, redirecting scarce public funds to serve private interests, or undermining ongoing public sector–led efforts to achieve SWM objectives.


Guiding Questions
  1. Are public policy priorities in the basin area well defined with regard to water? Are water policies consistent with other public policy priorities?
  2. Are government roles clearly defined in relation to achieving water-related public policy objectives?
  3. Do public institutions have the capacity and resources to deliver on these stated objectives (e.g., to enforce the regulatory framework)?
  4. Have public sector stakeholders’ mandates been respected, and have those stakeholders been actively involved in setting the objectives and activities of the WSI?
  5. Are the WSI’s objectives and activities aligned with public policy goals and objectives, and do they structurally support the development of public sector’s ability to manage water resources? Have public interest benefits been explicitly outlined?
  6. Have risks of capturing organizational or public resources, regulatory action, policy processes, and water access been identified? Have such risks been assessed? How effectively are they being addressed?


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