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.
Chair of the Water Integrity Network
March 22, 2015
Por Jacopo Gamba, Coordinador Regional para América Latina, Coordinador de alianzas, monitoreo, evaluación y aprendizajes, Water Integrity Network
Este año, en el marco del Premio Latinoamericano para el periodismo de investigación COLPIN 2014, una mención particular se llevó el artículo y el trabajo desarrollado por CIPER, y su periodista Alberto Arellano, sobre el negocio del agua en Chile.
Lejos de ser un tema desconocido a los chilenos y a los expertos de agua de toda la región, la escasez de este recurso fundamental está siendo objeto de un mercado cuyas dinámicas benefician a los más ricos. Mirado en sus detalles, el mercado del agua en tierra chilena no es, en teoría, desregulado: existen leyes vigentes y aplicadas.
El problema es que este marco normativo no tiene en cuenta comportamientos que, bien si estando dentro de la legalidad, entran en conflicto con los derechos humanos, como el derecho a acceder a agua. Siempre es complicado establecer y mantener un libre mercado cuando están en juego intereses colectivos, y obtener ganancias no puede priorizarse sobre el goce de los derechos básicos de las comunidades y de los individuos.
A Stockholm Water Front article. By Sanna Gustafsson, SIWI
Lack of integrity in water management has a huge cost for society, in lost lives and stalled development. Still, where corruption is entrenched, promoting fair practices can be met with strong resistance. Stockholm Water Front met two people with first-hand experience during the first African Water Integrity Summit in Lusaka. They shared their experiences of what it takes to address institutionally entrenched corruption.
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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:
- disclosure of taxes paid by companies operating in the mining sector, on the one hand,
- 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.
By Marta Rychlewski, Research Officer, Water Integrity Network
”The Integrity Management Toolbox workshop has opened my mind to the mistakes related to low integrity we commit in our company”, said one of the participants of a workshop on integrity management in the water sector for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), organized in Lusaka, Zambia in early July.
The workshop, facilitated by WIN, CEWAS (International Centre for Water Management Services) and the Water and Sanitation Association of Zambia (WASAZA), aimed to make SME managers more aware of how they can make their business benefit from implementing integrity measures.
Water stewardship Initiatives (WSI) involving the public, private sector and civil society are increasingly being started to address shared challenges in managing water resources.
We believe integrity is a crucial building block to enable equitable and sustainable outcomes from these Water Stewardship Initiatives.
To further develop integrity and transparency in WSIs, we therefore partnered with the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate and with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Water Witness International, Pegasys Institute, and Partnerships in Practice, Ltd, to carry out an applied research project aimed at developing an integrity management framework and practical supporting guidance for WSIs.