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Published on: 25/06/2008

Comparisons were made between the water, health and education sectors.

The approach included in-depth case study research in three countries (Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Uganda) and a broader document review. From this evidence the study aims to identify ways in which external support to the water sector can be delivered more in the spirit of the PD.

ODI found that the water sector was not consistently underperforming in the three country case studies. Rather, situation is one of ‘fluid dynamics' - the sector is moulded by the surrounding political-economic context in which it is situated, i.e. predominantly by the national governance environments in the countries examined.

The following conclusions and recommendations emerged:

1. The broader governance environment is a more important influence on progress against the Paris Principles than sector characteristics. Aspects of the governance context beyond the sector, rather than sector characteristics alone, are a key influence on progress.

2. The perception that the water sector is lagging behind is not supported if the spirit rather than the mechanics of the PD is considered. SWAPs or other instruments should not be seen as a one-off step but rather as an ongoing dynamic process, a platform for learning for both donors and recipients. The pace and level of engagement depends on the opportunities at hand in a given situation provided by the prevailing politicaleconomic context.

3. Some dynamics are specific to particular (sub-) sectors and require a more targeted approach. The type and number of actors and type and levels of financing differs between
sectors. The water sector is likely to be more affected for instance by new donors such as China with a particular emphasis on infrastructure development while the health
sector stands out for receiving high levels of aid from private foundations and multilateral funding initiatives.

4. Some aspects of system alignment such as PFM and procurement cut across sectors. Engagement at a higher level than the sector may be more effective than trying to find solutions within a sector.

5. Paucity of data prevents the measurement of progress against the PP for AE at sector level. There is
also currently no evidence that the fulfilment of the PP leads to better development outcomes e.g. increased access to WSS.

Welle, K. ... [et al.] (2008). Fluid dynamics? : achieving greater progress on aid effectiveness in the water
sector - lessons from three countries : final report to the Department for International Development. London, UK, Overseas Development Institute. 57 p. Read full report

A shorterned version of this paper was published in 2009 in Water Alternatives:

Welle, K.; Tucker, J.; Nicol, A. and Evans, B. 2009. Is the water sector lagging behind education and health on aid effectiveness? : lessons from Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Uganda. Water Alternatives ; vol. 2, no. 3 ; p. 297‐314.


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