Boosting Regional Dialogue on Effective Water Governance

Governance is a much debated but less familiar topic among the water community.  However, as the UNDP’s Human Development Report 2006 shows, the global water crisis is rooted in power, poverty and inequality with overwhelming impacts on the poor and marginalized.  Failure to commit adequate resources to water management and to improve water governance significantly restricts the ability of developing countries to reduce health risks and vulnerability, enhance livelihood security, and achieve pro-poor economic growth.  

          Water governance refers to the range of political, social, economic and administrative systems that are in place to develop and manage water resources and the delivery of water services, at different levels of society.  It comprises the mechanisms, processes, and institutions through which all involved stakeholders, including citizens and interest groups, articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences.  Governance of water is understood in its broadest sense as entailing all social, political, and economic institutions and their impact on water development and management.  

          In Peru the new government has made water a priority of its development policy and poverty alleviation strategy through its program “Agua Para Todos,” with an estimated US$ 250 million annual investment.  Sector authorities acknowledge the importance of good water governance in the context of an on-going decentralization process and growing investments in the country and requested WSP’s help to design a capacity-building component.  WSP-LAC, together with the Canadian Development Agency (CIDA) responded to the Government’s request and formulated a project to support decentralization and good governance in five regions (Cajamarca, San Martin, Madre de Dios, Lambayeque, La Libertad).  

The project aims to:

  • Strengthen government and civil society capacity to plan and implement water and sanitation programs.
  • Support participatory water governance decision-making processes to enhance accountability and transparency.
  • Support development of water and sanitation systems that are safe for health and environmental sustainability.
  • Integrate a gender perspective throughout water resources governance.

This will be done mainly through participatory analysis and planning workshops at regional levels, as well as training workshops at the provincial levels for all municipalities belonging to a specific province, and working meetings with key stakeholders.  At the national level the project expects to gradually develop and institutionalize a methodology and process that could be scaled up once the project is over.  It is expected that this project will be an on–going learning process, whereby authorities will be participating in its regular progress and monitoring.  

Contact Name: 
Iris Marmanillo
Contact Email: