OECD Studies on Water

2224-5081 (online)
2224-5073 (print)
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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 Latin America and the Caribbean

Water Governance in Latin America and the Caribbean

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

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21 Nov 2012
9789264174542 (PDF) ;9789264174535(print)

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This report addresses multilevel governance challenges in water policy in the Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) and identifies good practices for co-ordinating water across ministries, between levels of government, and across local and regional actors.  Based on the OECD Multilevel Governance Framework and a survey on water governance, the report i) maps the allocation of roles and responsibilities in 13 LAC countries’ water policy at central government and sub-national level; ii) identifies the main coordination "gaps" in terms of territorial and institutional fragmentation, funding mismatch, information asymmetry, accountability, objectives and capacity, and iii) provides a range of mechanisms to improve water governance at all levels and foster capacity-building.

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  • Foreword
    The 6th World Water Forum (Marseille, France, 12-17 March 2012) showed that the "water crisis" the world community faces today is largely a governance crisis. Securing water for all, especially vulnerable populations, is often not only a question of hydrology and financing, but equally a matter of good governance. Managing water scarcity and water-related risks such as floods or natural disasters requires resilient institutions, collaborative efforts and sound capacity at all levels.
  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary
    Access to water is a cornerstone for development and a strong engine for reducing inequalities. It is a key determinant of economic growth and social well-being. Access to water influences basic aspects of human well-being, such as health, sanitation, nutrition and housing. It is also intrinsically linked to food production, with 70% of the world’s water use devoted to agriculture. Successful water policy is critical for achieving global food security and poverty alleviation. Securing universal access to water for all is thus a matter of human security and a leading indicator of a government’s commitment to delivering basic services.
  • A multi-level governance approach to address complexity in the water sector
    This chapter explores how improving multi-level governance can contribute to effective design and implementation of water policies in LAC countries. It emphasizes the scope, rationale and methodology structuring the analysis in the report. It also highlights the instrumental role of good governance in addressing territorial and institutional fragmentation in the sector and in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Mapping institutional roles and responsibilities
    This chapter outlines the roles and responsibilities of actors in the design, regulation, budget and implementation of water policy, as well as the modalities for allocating roles and responsibilities in the water sector at central government and sub-national level. It offers a preliminary typology of LAC countries based on the institutional organisation of their water sector and it identifies key features and trends within the region in terms of allocating roles and responsibilities. Information was collected from the responses of 13 LAC countries to an OECD questionnaire.
  • Multi-level governance challenges in the LAC water sector
    This chapter identifies the main obstacles preventing the design and implementation of integrated and coherent water policies in LAC countries. Taking a close look at the interplay between different public actors involved in water policy making, the chapter diagnoses seven major multi-level governance gaps, based on selected indicators and data collection from the OECD Survey on Water Governance.
  • Multi-level co-ordination instruments for water policy making
    This chapter identifies the policy instruments used by governments to bridge multi-level governance gaps considered to be bottlenecks in the co-ordination and implementation of water policy. An in-depth focus on instruments fostering horizontal co-ordination across ministries, horizontal co-ordination across local actors, and vertical co-ordination between levels of government, shows the variety of practices adopted by LAC countries for multi-level co-ordination of water policies and capacity building at sub-national level.
  • Country profiles

    This chapter presents profiles of 13 LAC countries. They have a uniform layout, for ease of comparison. They are based on the responses collected in the framework of the OECD 2011 Survey on Water Governance. Each profile is divided into five sections, which provide:

    • An "institutional mapping" of the allocation of roles and responsibilities in water policy design, regulation and implementation at central government level.
    • An overview of co-ordination challenges and instruments across ministries and public agencies.
    • An "institutional mapping" of the allocation of roles and responsibilities in water policy design, regulation and implementation at sub-national (local and regional) level.
    • An overview of co-ordination challenges and instruments across levels of government and between local actors.
    • An overview of remaining multi-level governance challenges, based on countries’ self-assessment in the OECD 2011 Survey on Water Governance.
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