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TitleQuantifying water and sanitation in development cooperation : power or perversity?
Publication TypeProgress Report
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsLangford, M, Winkler, IT
Secondary TitleUniversity of Oslo Faculty of Law Legal Studies research paper series
Volumeno. 2013-23
Pagination29 p.; 2 fig.; 1 tab
Date Published2013-05-01
PublisherUniversity of Oslo
Place PublishedOslo, Norway
Publication LanguageEnglish
Keywordsdevelopment cooperation, indicators, millennium development goals, water quantity, water supply

For more than half a century, domestic water issues have constituted a theme of international cooperation and, since 1976, a subject of quantitative target setting. In this paper, we critical analyze two early periods of target setting together with their most recent incarnation in the 2000/1 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In this arc, we identify two stories concerning the utility of a turn to metrics: The first is a perennial and at times justified optimism in target setting and the second is a more cautionary tale about the dangers of measurement and its tendency to paper over challenging but significant issues. In a final section, we offer some brief conclusions on the implications for the post-2015 agenda and some potential alternative measurement routes to tread.[author abstract]

This paper is one of a series of papers in a research project, The Power of Numbers: A Critical Review of MDG Targets for Human Development and Human Rights (the "Project").


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