Published on: 22/06/2015
The new agenda for the future of water and sanitation, defined by the Sustainable Development Goals, aims at universal access for all by 2030. Achieving this mission will require a radical shift in how the water and sanitation sector operates. The main Dutch water and sanitation stakeholders urge the World Bank to play a leading role in this transformation.
This blog has been written by Jeske Verhoeven of IRC and Erma Uytewaal associate consultant of IRC.
The required fundamental paradigm shift according to the main Dutch water and sanitation actors involves a process of systemic change that focuses on establishing strong country sector systems. It implies a move away by all actors in the water and sanitation sector from focusing on the construction of water and sanitation infrastructure to service delivery – and service use for all. In this revised way of working all stakeholders work together in a coordinated way, under leadership of the government, towards the achievement of a set of commonly accorded sector goals.
This is the outcomes of a consultation process, led by IRC, with the main Dutch water and sanitation actors on the future of the water and sanitation sector and the role of the World Bank in water and sanitation (1). The Directorate General of International Cooperation of the Netherlands asked IRC to lead this consultation process with the Dutch water and sanitation sector to inform their engagement with the World Bank.
The World Bank is going through a period of fundamental reform to have greater impact. In October 2013 the World Bank adopted a new strategy with two ambitious goals; end extreme poverty by 2030 and promote shared prosperity. The new strategy calls for greater efficiency in operations; more investment in knowledge, technical skills, and information technology; and the breaking down of silos within the institution that currently inhibit collaboration and knowledge-sharing. The strategy includes a new business model, merging operational service delivery with knowledge architecture through 14 Global Practices and 5 Cross-Cutting Solutions Areas. For water and sanitation, the new so-called Water Global Practice brings together irrigation, water resources management, hydropower and water and sanitation service delivery.
In October 2014 the Dutch government and the World Bank signed a strategic partnership agreement. An integral part of this agreement forms the commitment of US$50 million from the Dutch government for the coming five years to the World Bank's new Global Water Practice. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs wants to spend this contribution to the Global Water Practice in a coordinated manner with input from the Dutch water sector.
This blog is the second part of a series a three blogs (published in June 2015) which share the main outcomes of the consultation process with the main Dutch water and sanitation actors on the future of the sector and the role of the World Bank in water and sanitation. This blog presents the main ideas of the Dutch water and sanitation sector around the role of the World Bank in leading the paradigm shift argued for by the Dutch actors in our first blog 'The future of water and sanitation: a common Dutch vision'. The final third blog encloses the possible Dutch input in implementation of the Global Water Practice new strategy.
The 'service delivery approach' which is proposed by the main Dutch water and sanitation actors is based on the premise that a drinking water and sanitation service relies on a complex interaction between actors, institutions and physical infrastructure that operates at and across various governance levels. Planning, financing and institutional arrangements, including arrangements for public and private financing, are made for the entire life-cycle of services. Long term financing of the services is guaranteed through a mix of nationally generated public funding, tariffs and external support (transfers/ aid).
'An effective service delivery approach relies on the whole system working effectively together - all the different parts, institutions and actors.'
Water, sanitation and hygiene services also need to be monitored continuously and assessed against criteria such as quality, quantity, accessibility and reliability. All sector actors (governments, private sector, donors and Non-Governmental Organisations) need to collaborate and hold each other accountable for the delivery of equitable and sustainable services for all.
In the opinion of the main Dutch water and sanitation actors the sector needs radical change towards a service delivery approach, breaking away from the current focus on construction of water and sanitation infrastructure. The Dutch believe strongly that the World Bank needs to drive this change. As it is one of the few institutions, if not the only, to have both the political weight and the financial resources to lead the water and sanitation sector through the required transformation process.
The Bank is perfectly placed to lead the transformation process in the water and sanitation sector both internationally and at country level.
Driving change towards a service delivery approach will require the World Bank to prioritise its efforts in a catalytic manner in support of establishing strong country sector systems.
The World Bank needs to shift the focus of its resources, particularly grants, towards building capacity at (recipient) country level to plan, finance, deliver and monitor equitable and sustainable service delivery. This includes supporting the creation of the national infrastructure for enhanced domestic resource generation to finance sustainable delivery of water and sanitation, covering all life-cycle costs from construction, to operation, maintenance and rehabilitation.
At country level, the World Bank can lead in strengthening and building government leadership by using their existing instruments as the country diagnostic frameworks, the country assistant strategies and support programmes to:
With regards to existing and future World Bank lending (loan portfolios) the main Dutch water and sanitation actors advise the World Bank at country level to:
At institutional level, the main Dutch water and sanitation actors recommend the World Bank to drive the adoption of a service delivery approach by:
The main Dutch water and sanitation actors also ask the World Bank to take a position in the internal arena and drive the adoption of a service delivery approach by:
Based on the IRC analysis of emerging trends and scenarios impacting water, sanitation and hygiene service delivery (discussed in the blog 'the future of water and sanitation: a common Dutch vision), the main Dutch water and sanitation actors suggest that knowledge development in the Global Water Practice should focus on innovation in a number of prioritized thematic areas, underpinning the Banks's leading role in the sector. These should include developing approaches for:
This blog discusses the opinion of the main Dutch water and sanitation actors on the future role of the World Bank in the water and sanitation sector. The important question now to be asked to the World Bank is whether it has the political will and commitment to take-up this strategic role? Is the World Bank prepared to drive the sector to change and move past safeguarding sacred cows and established institutional interests towards a sector that realizes sustainable services for all by 2030, leaving nobody behind?
1. Organisations who participated in the consultation meeting in January 2015 were Simavi, Royal Haskoning DHV, Aqua for All, Waste, Both Ends, Netherlands Water Platform, UNESCO-IHE, Waternet, World Bank, UVW and Directorate General of International Cooperation of The Netherlands.
Directorate General of International Cooperation (DGIS), 2014. Netherlands and World Bank join forces on water issues, Clean drinking water and sanitation for 200 million people, Website article. Available at: < http://www.government.nl/news/2014/10/11/netherlands-and-world-bank-join-forces-on-water-issues.html >
World Bank (WB), 2013. World Bank Group Strategy. Available at: < https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/16095/32824_ebook.pdf >
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