OECD Studies on Water

2224-5081 (en ligne)
2224-5073 (imprimé)
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Water is essential for economic growth, human health, and the environment. Yet governments around the world face significant challenges in managing their water resources effectively. The problems are multiple and complex: billions of people are still without access to safe water and adequate sanitation; competition for water is increasing among the different uses and users; and major investment is required to maintain and improve water infrastructure in OECD and non-OECD countries. This OECD series on water provides policy analysis and guidance on the economic, financial and governance aspects of water resources management. These aspects generally lie at the heart of the water problem and hold the key to unlocking the policy puzzle.

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Water Governance in OECD Countries

Water Governance in OECD Countries

A Multi-level Approach You do not have access to this content

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25 oct 2011
Pages :
9789264119284 (PDF) ; 9789264119277 (imprimé)

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This report addresses multilevel governance challenges in water policy implementation and identifies good practices for coordinating water policy across ministries, between levels of government, and across local actors at subnational level. Based on a methodological framework, it assesses the main "coordination gaps" in terms of policymaking, financing, information, accountability, objectives and capacity building, and provides a platform of existing governance mechanisms to bridge them. Based on an extensive survey on water governance the report provides a comprehensive institutional mapping of roles and responsibilities in water policy-making at national/subnational level in 17 OECD countries. It concludes on preliminary multilevel governance guidelines for integrated water policy.
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  • Foreword
    Managing and securing access to water for all is not only a question of money, but equally a matter of good governance. OECD previous work on water concluded that the solutions needed for the water crisis do exist and are well-known. The real challenge is implementing these solutions, tailoring them to local contexts, overcoming obstacles to reform and bringing together the main actors from different sectors to join forces and share the tasks and risks.
  • Executive Summary
    It is now widely acknowledged that there is enough water on Earth for all, even in areas where temporary shortages may exist. Clearly, the current water "crisis" is not a crisis of scarcity but a crisis of mismanagement, with strong public governance features. Key obstacles to improve water management are institutional fragmentation and badly managed multi-level governance, in a context where local authorities are most often in charge of water resources management and service delivery.
  • Public Governance and Water Policies
    This chapter explores how public governance contributes to effective design and implementation of water policies. It situates the scope of the research in the overall debates, concepts, definitions and ongoing initiatives on water governance and sums up the value added of the multi-level governance approach that structures the overall analysis. It i) provides a brief overview of water governance literature; ii) emphasises the rationale for a specific focus on multi-level governance issues, and iii) describes the hypotheses and methodological framework that structure the analytical work of the report.
  • Mapping Institutional Roles and Responsibilities
    This chapter aims to identify who does what in terms of water policy design, regulation, budget and implementation as well as the modalities for allocating roles and responsibilities in the water sector. It offers a tentative taxonomy of OECD countries based on the institutional organisation of the water sector, and identifies key features and trends within the OECD region in terms of allocating roles and responsibilities. Information was collected from responses to the 2010 OECD Survey on Water Governance, regarding the ministries, public agencies, levels of government and sub-national actors involved in specific areas and functions of water policy making. Detailed institutional mappings of 17 OECD countries are attached to the present report within country profiles available in the annex.
  • Challenges to Co-ordinating Water Policies Across Ministries and Levels of Government
    This chapter aims to identify the main obstacles preventing the design and implementation of integrated and coherent water policies in OECD countries. Taking a closer look at the interplay between the different public actors involved in water policy making, the chapter proposes a tentative taxonomy of the main governance challenges, based on selected indicators and data collection from the OECD survey on water governance. Detailed horizontal and vertical co-ordination challenges for 17 OECD countries are synthesised in the country profiles attached to this report.
  • Multi­level Co-ordination of Water Policies
    This chapter aims to identify policy instruments used by governments to bridge multi-level governance gaps considered to be bottlenecks in the co-ordination and implementation of water policy. It shows the variety of practices adopted by OECD countries for multi-level co-ordination of water policies and capacity-building at sub-national level. The chapter gives an overview of governance mechanisms currently used by OECD countries to bridge previously identified gaps (Chapter 3). A specific focus is then made on a series of instruments fostering horizontal co-ordination across ministries, horizontal co-ordination across local actors and vertical co-ordination between levels of government.
  • Final Considerations for Water Policy Governance
    This chapter summarises the main findings of the report regarding: i) the institutional mapping of roles and responsibilities; ii) key multi-level governance challenges in water policy design and implementation; and iii) common governance instruments to manage the interdependence between levels of government and build capacity. It draws the lessons from OECD experience in the governance of water policy and suggests preliminary guidelines intended as a tool for policy makers to diagnose and respond to multi-level governance challenges in water policy.
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