A Decade of Support for Water Governance Reform: Final Report of the GoAL WaSH Programme
This report details the key outcomes of UNDP’s GoAL WaSH programme, which implemented assessments, policy coordination, and water governance in 15 countries from 2009-2019. Sub-national interventions have been highlighted across Bosnia and Herzegovina, El Salvador, Cambodia, Jordan, Togo, Lao PDR, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Madagascar, Mongolia, Niger, Tajikistan, Paraguay and the Philippines.
The programme supported work in three main areas:
- Assessment, analysis and consensus building in the national water and sanitation context;
- Commitment, planning and coordination for new policies, laws, coordinating mechanisms, and regulatory functions; and
- Making reality the reform through the support to implementation with accountability and transparency.
“The water crisis is a governance crisis.” This assertion from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report in 2006 was the catalyst for launching the Governance, Advocacy, and Leadership in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (GoAL WaSH) Programme over a decade ago.
UNDP GoAL WaSH was established in 2008 to accelerate the achievement of the water and sanitation targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and subsequently the more ambitious water, sanitation and participation targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Countries with specific water-related challenges, often in a post-conflict context, were selected for GoAL WaSH support. This support built on the alignment of government and UNDP country office interests in addressing those challenges by way of governance reform.
Further, as a ‘gap-filling’ mechanism, GoAL WaSH complemented other ongoing initiatives and built synergies to allow national authorities to accelerate the realization of water governance reforms. As a result, GoAL WaSH has promoted water governance reform in 15 countries across all regions of the world.
The GoAL WaSH programme was designed and initiated by Piers Cross, one of the world’s most influential water experts and activists, who passed away in 2017. Piers conducted the initial reviews in most of the countries where the programme started. His deep understanding of the water governance challenge, and inspiring vision towards crafting reform in a participatory manner were essential for establishing and managing the programme. His legacy will live on.
The GoAL WaSH achievements would not have been possible without the commitment of the GoAL WaSH teams at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), UNDP country offices, and the support from Sweden channelled through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
Evaluations have concluded that the GoAL WaSH programme has been able to provide prompt responses, quality advice, and substantial support to project countries. Over the years, governance reform has paid off: for every USD 1 invested in GoAL WaSH over the last five years, USD 16 were leveraged from governments and other partners.
Beyond investments, time is a critical factor. The GoAL WaSH projects are small in monetary terms, but they were long term, reflecting the importance of partnership and trust for supporting governance reform. Running for over a decade, the programme was completed in 2019, but the building of capacities of people and institutions continues.
Andrew Hudson Head, Water and Ocean Governance Programme, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support/Global Policy Network, UNDP
Marianne Kjellén, Senior Water Advisor, Water and Ocean Governance Programme, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support/Global Policy Network, UNDP
Access the full report here: https://www.undp.org/publications/decade-support-water-governance-reform-final-report-goal-wash-programme