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Today is World Water Day

Today, we celebrate water as the source of human well-being and development. As such, its limited availability calls for more than careful management; it calls for governance which mandates, enables and regulates its usage in a manner that is fair, transparent and efficient. At the heart of this governance is integrity, in intent and practice.

2015 marks the end of one phase of universal commitment to development -in the form of the Millennium Development Goals- and the beginning of another, the Sustainable Development Goals. The former set a goal which was a milestone on the road to universal access to safe water and sanitation. It is now of crucial importance that the Sustainable Development Goals delve deeper and place the universal commitment to integrity as the principle that ensures water governance is based on the three pillars of transparency, accountability and participation.

Ravi Narayanan

Chair of the Water Integrity Network

March 22, 2015

Water, Transparency and Extractive Industries: The Case of Togo

An overview of recent initiatives for water integrity, in Togo, by Helene Ramos dos Santos  (Human Rights and Development Consultant, Geneva/Lomé)*

In Togo, water extracted for drinking water is accounted for under the EITI

On October 19, 2010, Togo was recognized as a candidate country for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The EITI is “a global coalition of governments, companies and civil society working together to improve openness and accountable management of revenues from natural resources” by encouraging:

  1. disclosure of taxes paid by companies operating in the mining sector, on the one hand,
  2. disclosure by governments of revenues received from those companies, on the other hand.

The objective is to ensure good natural resources management in order to stop the “resource curse” observed in many countries, which, despite their natural wealth, remain among the poorest in the world. The EITI, initiated in 2003, has so far shed light on major losses in the extraction of precious mineral and gas products in 35 countries.

Togo has been the first, and is still the only, EITI country counting water among its natural resources to be monitored through the EITI. Accordingly, companies that extract groundwater for the production of mineral waters must disclose royalties they pay.

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Mucha agua, pocos derechos. Colombia una paradoja

David Sierra Sorockinas es abogado, Profesor de cátedra de la Universidad de Antioquia (Colombia) en el área de derecho público y abogado en las Empresas Públicas de Medellín. Miembro de WIN desde el 2013, ha frecuentado el curso en línea de WIN y la Escuela Virtual del PNUD. Se interesa de cuestiones de servicios públicos, derecho al agua y la lucha contra la corrupción. 

Según una acepción, más o menos usada por la mayoría, una paradoja es una expresión que envuelve una contradicción. Eso es justamente lo que quiero exponer, la contradicción que existe en Colombia cuando se habla del agua. Según datos, ciertamente confiables, Colombia tiene una ‘oferta’ hídrica aceptable, más allá de todos los riesgos que se puedan hallar (Ideam, 2010). Así las cosas, llegando una conclusión -acaso- rápida, el problema de este país no pasa por la escasez del recurso, sino por la falta de acceso del mismo. La escasez de cualquier bien, lleva consigo la falta de acceso, pero, una proposición diferente no nos ubica en el sentido contrario, es decir, la abundancia de un recurso (no) conlleva el acceso del mismo. La diferencia por la cual las personas acceden a los recursos no depende solo de la abundancia o no de ello, depende de otros factores, los cuales, por el espacio, solo me limitaré a describir.

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Integrity and the next generation

This blog entry was written by Janek Hermann-Friede, Monitoring, Programme Planning, Focal Point East Africa Coordinator at WIN.

UNESCO-IHE organised a week long introduction into the topic water integrity for its new batch of Msc students in October 2013. This course was organised in follow-up to the Water Integrity Forum that took place in June 2013. The whole week was put into the context of the Delft statement on water integrity. General concepts of integrity and good water governance were introduced to a group of approximately 150 young and mid-career water professionals. Among different presentations, an analysis of integrity issues in water resources management in the Netherlands was discussed to showcase that the topic was relevant globally and not only in developing countries. Read More…

The Budapest Water Summit and the post 2015 process

This entry was written by Teun Bastemeijer. Teun Bastemeijer is currently Director of the Water Integrity Network at TI. He has many years of international experience in the water and urban development sectors. 

Sustainable development goals discussions are good and propose clear solutions, but they are also confusing. Maybe because there are too many of them and they are in competition with each other.

During the Water Integrity Forum  in June and the Stockholm World Water Week in September, there were many sessions and informal discussions about the post 2015 agenda, the current millennium goals and the post 2015 agenda seems to focus on the formulation of new objectives and targets with a greater concern for sustainability of achievements rather than the agenda itself.

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Recruiting new ‘water warriors’ at the Youth Future Conference

Christoph Kowalewski, 30, is currently working in the Governance, Risk & Compliance-department of an international consulting company in Munich/ Germany. He supported the United Nations Development Programme as virtual professor by lecturing on “Increasing Transparency, Accountability and Participation in the Water Sector” this year. Moreover, he has been a member of the German chapter of Transparency International since 2008.

During the first week of September, while many water integrity experts were in Stockholm, I was in Bonn providing a workshop on corruption in the water sector at the third Youth Future Conference. This European conference was organised by a German group of students from the Youth Future Project e.V. inviting about 120 young people from all over Europe, more than 20 experts in the field of sustainability, 20 junior scientists as well as nine laureates of the Right Livelihood Award (“Alternative Nobel Prize”) and the German Environment Prize – and I had the honor and pleasure to be among those people.

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Link: UNDP regional Central and Latin America – local governance and decentralisation

In their newsletter of August 2013, the UNDP regional centre for Central and Latin America focuses on the topic of water integrity. They discuss why support transparency, integrity and accountability in the water sector.There is also an article about the first Water Integrity Forum, which took place in Delft in June 2013, and another one about a regional workshop which saw members of the Latin American Network for Capacity Development in Sustainable Water Management (LA-WET Net), the International Network for Capacity Development in Sustainable Water Management (CAPNet-PNUD), the Water Integrity Network (WIN), a number of experts from different national Civil Society Organizations and UNDP professionals from Country Offices in Colombia and the UNDP Regional Centre of Panama participate in. The regional workshop was called  ‘’Water Integrity in Latin America: Regional Planning Mapping and Capacity Development’’, and took place in Bogota City, Colombia in May 2013.

You will find the newsletter here: UNDP Newsletter 26 PDF