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Evaluation report

1998 Global: Financing of Fresh Water for All: A rights based approach



Author: Nigam, A.; Rasheed, S.; UNICEF NYHQ

Executive summary

Background

Over the past two decades a number of international declarations have sought to ensure access to safe water and sanitation with environmental sustainability. A range of criteria and financing mechanisms have been proposed for the mobilization and allocation of financial resources. Yet millions of people do not have access to basic levels of service and there are concerns about water scarcity and environmental degradation impacting on fresh water resources. There is increasing competition between agriculture, industry and domestic sectors for fresh water which is a finite resources in a given environment. The global fresh water crisis is in fact a local level crisis - in time (at particular periods during the year) and in space (particular locations) - which already exists.

Purpose / Objective

This paper argues that the international declarations on human and child rights provide the political, moral, ethical and legal imperative for ensuring that the fundamental right to water is met. Adopting a rights-based approach, it is argued, is consistent and compatible with economic efficiency. Indeed, such an approach is both efficient and equitable.

Methodology

This review undertakes a broad-ranging survey and analysis of water supply and sanitation experiences worldwide with the goal of identifying lessons relevant to their design and evaluation.

Key Findings and Conclusions

The key constraint in overcoming the challenges is not lack of financial resources but the political decision by the state to implement the rights already conferred on individuals.

The market cannot be expected to safeguard and allocate fresh water resources equitably across income groups and across competing uses. The pressure on domestic water supply as a result of over-extraction for agriculture calls for an examination of pricing of water in its competing uses.

The rights based approach to financing suggests that efficiency with equity can be achieved if basic levels of services for all are guaranteed by the state. What is required is the political will to ensure that the rights are met.

Privatization and public sector financing can be complementary but the former should not be expected to substitute for the state's responsibility for ensuring basic levels of service.

Privatization of water supply and sanitation services must be accompanied with effective regulation.

Micro-finance and revolving credit schemes must be promoted along side water supply and sanitation in order to enhance the capacity of the poor to pay and maintain their services.

Community based management as a strategy for service delivery and financing of fresh water for all has been shown to be effective. Communities must be in-charge and participate in all aspects of management if they are to be custodians of their fresh water environment.

Recommendations

The number of lessons in financing fresh water for all suggest that there is no blue print for all countries, regions or communities. Private sector financing should be seen to be complementary and in now way a substitute for the state's responsibility in ensuring basic levels of services for all.



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Report information

Date:
1998

Region:
Global

Country:
Inter-regional

Type:
Study

Theme:
Water and Environmental Sanitation

Partners:

PIDB:

Follow Up:

Language:
English

Sequence Number:

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