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At the first Water Integrity Forum for East Africa, IRC hosted a session on bridging the financing gap in WASH.

The purpose of the session was to present and discuss the results of tracking financial flows for water and sanitation at national, district and utility level, trying to answer the following questions:

  • Does expenditure tracking have impact on budgets and financial allocations?
  • What mechanisms and tools are required to enable more sustainable financial allocations?
  • What good examples and cases are being implemented?
  • SDG financing will need much more money: are government and non-government systems strong enough to handle more money?
  • What type of oversight and accountability will be needed?

Acknowledging that there is a huge financing gap, there was a discussion on whether increased accountability would lead to the generation of funds required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Main observations

  • "Justice delayed is justice denied" Why wait until 2030? Is there nothing that can be done already as we move towards 2030?
  • Budget tracking is important for: value for money; need to know where does this money go? What does it do?; tracking also helps workers to know how actors set their priorities.
  • Corruption tendencies in the water sector are real and manifest in the following ways: Colluding in procurement, shoddy work; delayed completion; inflated costs for materials; connivance; and non-adherence to procedures.

Conclusions

  • Integrity is key for the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals. Investment gap is widened by lack of integrity.
  • Increasing integrity does not mean increase in finance but decrease in corruption can increase funds available.
  • Government regulation and leadership is only efficient if there are formal audits. Formal audits mandated by formal institutions but without the power of prosecution, which necessitates the creation of other anti-corruption mechanisms. Civil Society Organisation and whistle blower systems are still weak and not institutionalised.
  • Community participation is key for integrity.

Proposed actions

There is need to be smart, efficient and transparent in order to fill the funding gap.

  1. Be more efficient. Start with functionality through improved management models; Nexus between humanitarian and development; More efficiency in revolving CapEx and OpEx – the role of water resource development fund.
  2. Promote transparency and accountability which will result in reliability and predictability of revenues, leading to better service levels.
  3. Alternative financing: Blended financing.

How to expose corruption tendencies

  • Regular audits
  • Monitoring of projects
  • Stakeholder participation
  • Regular and tactful engagement with politicians

Resources