Governance of Water and Sanitation

This manual aims to provide a practical tool to implement a WASH sector governance mechanism and encourage other sector actors to integrate and implement the same.

Giving access to essential services such as water and sanitation requires a combination of solutions to a multitude of issues such as the need for renewal of obsolete infrastructure and network expansion, urbanization, population growth, climate variability, water-related disasters, cost of water, absence of sectoral policies, the issue of maintenance, etc.

Today, in addition to technical solutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are increasingly interested in the governance of water and sanitation as a prerequisite for ensuring the sustainability of access to water and sanitation. For UNDP, “governance includes complex mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and their groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, fulfill their obligations and negotiate their differences”. The actors involved are therefore also civil society and the private sector.

Action Against Hunger is an important player in access to water hygiene and sanitation (WASH) in the developing countries where it works. Since 2006, ACF has been interested in the issue of water governance and the right to water, through research, advocacy and communication. Several research projects were carried out and resulted in a master thesis on the right to water in Mali in 20072, a book on the right to water in emergencies accompanied by a training DVD, in 2009, a thesis on the right to water as a weapon of civil society in South Africa in 2012, a book on the same subject edited by AFD also in 2012 a master thesis on water governance in the Philippines in 2013.

Since 2013, Action Against Hunger has intensified its work on the governance of water and sanitation, conducting several studies on missions and by continuing to contribute to this issue on the international scene. The organization is now a member of various governance-focused co-ordinations including the OECD Water Governance Initiative, which contributed to the development of the 12 Principles on Water Governance adopted by the 34 OECD Member States in June 2015. Today, Action Against Hunger develops the operational dimension of the governance of water and sanitation on its missions, with a view to strengthening the coherence, equity and sustainability of the service, mainly through field governance.

This commitment is in support of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 6, and the OECD Principles on Water Governance, a project in which ACF has been participating since 2013. This manual, oriented primarily towards the operational missions of ACF but more broadly towards the other NGOs of the sector, the operators, the decision makers and the donors, aims to: a) Provide a practical tool on the implementation of a “WASH sector governance” dimension in its WASH projects and programs, based on concrete field examples; b) Encourage other sector NGOs, operators and partner institutions to integrate and implement a governance dimension in their projects and programs based on OECD principles; c) Encourage other technical sectors beyond the WASH sector, and in particular those of ACF, to explore the governance dimension in their field and projects.


About this document

Section: Technical

Thematic Area: Water Sanitation and Hygiene

Location: Global

Type: Guide

Language: EnglishFrench

Key Information


Year Published: 2017
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