This report presents the synthesis of Programme for Effective Water Governance (PEWG), undertaken by the Global Water Partnership (GWP). PEWG was implemented in 2005 and 2006 in seven countries in West and East Africa: in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Niger and in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda through the concerned Regional and Country Water Partnerships.
Financial support was provided from the European Union. It follows GWP engagement with water governance since 2002, when the Dialogues on Water Governance were organized in more than 30 countries. Attention for effective water governance comes from this oft-repeated statement: ‘the water crisis is a crisis of governance’. It is not so much an absolute shortage
of water that is at stake but the inability to manage water properly. The Word Water Vision in 2000 mentioned governing water wisely as one of the seven challenges for achieving a water secure world. There are many definitions of governance – some factual, some normative, but they all point in the same direction. The description of governance is that it is the interaction between formal institutions and those ‘others’: civil society, private sector and citizens at large. OECD (2001) has then defined eight major characteristics of ‘good’ governance; “participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. It assures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making.” All these points apply in equal measure to water governance, but effectiveness is a key concern. In many areas there is simply no water management at all – neither good or bad. In other cases institutions and regulations for IWRM are in
place – that follow many of the OECD list of good characteristics - but operationalization, effective management and broader stakeholder involvement is lacking for a wide range of reasons. The letter of the law may be there, but the spirit is missing. It is not only the stakeholders that are missing but also the doers and the implementers. This synthesis brings together the results of the PEWG for seven countries in West and East Africa. The PEWG was meant to put water governance on the agenda through thorough analysis and discussion and through action planning. In each country a similar process was followed, consisting of a diagnosis, national workshops and the preparation of action proposals. For the diagnosis and mapping of water governance a visually clear standard format was used, the so-called Water Governance Scorecard. The Scorecard allowed a snapshot overview of current water governance arrangements and the scope for improvements. As such it served as to build the agenda for national governance discussions. While it suffered from the unavoidable constraints of standard document, the Scorecards had the important advantage of allowing a comparison of water governance between countries. [authors abstract]