Water Governance in OECD Countries

A Multi-level Approach

image of Water Governance in OECD Countries

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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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.

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