Water quality is just one of many issues that can only be addressed by effective water governance.
amongst technical water professionals have been particularly valuable as this group often lacks an appreciation of the importance of governance,” Hall states. The thrust of the dialogues differed according to local governance situations and often served to identify priorities for improvement. For example, dialogue in the Mediterranean region identified a mismatch between central government policies and priorities on the one hand, and people’s concerns and aspirations on the other. The conclusions were that more transparency and accountability is needed with active public participation and better social, environmental and economic links. Follow up actions are planned to take this forward at the country level and a network of parliamentarians has been established to coordinate activities and increase the involvement of elected representatives in water affairs. The need for participation – bringing in more stakeholders, making their roles effective and get-
ting action through partnerships – underpinned most dialogues. As the Uruguay dialogue stated: “An effort must be made to coordinate the many actors related to water resources, plan harmonizing mechanisms between them and take into consideration that it is unreasonable to have just one organization deciding on water matters.”
UPDATING LEGISLATION Most dialogues recognized that the trend towards “distributed governance” brought with it a need for change. Decentralization commonly results in confusion over the demarcation of responsibilities between and among actors, inadequate co-ordination mechanisms, jurisdictional gaps or overlaps and the failure to match needs, responsibilities, authorities and capacities for action. Updating out-of-date legislation featured strongly in Central America and a multi-stakeholder dialogue in Costa Rica has led to a decision by government to reform its 60-year-old water law through a participatory process.
Global Water Partnership Annual Report