NGOs & Transboundary Water Management “It is certain that the energy, experience, and commitment of NGOs are a great asset for policy making if the social and ecological water crisis has any chance of subsiding” Danielle Morley, Freshwater Coordinator – UNED Forum Pam Kearfott · CE 397 · November 11, 2003
NGO = non-governmental organization = non-profit organization = civil society organization = independent sector = third sector
Why they exist: • “private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development” (World Bank) • address market or government failures
Some reasons why they work: • strong grassroots links • field-based development expertise • the ability to innovate and adapt • process-oriented approach to development • participatory methodologies and tools • long-term commitment and emphasis on sustainability • cost-effectiveness
Some reasons why they don’t work: • limited financial and management expertise • limited institutional capacity • low levels of self-sustainability • isolation/lack of inter-organizational communication and/or coordination • small scale interventions • lack of understanding of the broader social or economic context
2nd World Water Forum • Netherlands, March 2000 • NGOs drafted and submitted a paper summarizing their recommendations and issues • Responses to FFA and WWV (established during 1st Forum in 1997)
Key Points: • Women & Poverty – exclusion of key population groups from decision making processes • Water crisis results from mismanagement and misallocation of resources, not technological or financial – public involvement is essential • Integrated approaches that include coherent policies, institutional frameworks, technology transfer, and capacity building are necessary.
Key Components Crucial to Addressing Water Management Issues: • access to water • democratic governance and participation • protecting ecosystems • food security • shared and transboundary water resources • valuing water • managing risks • integrated water resources management principles and practice • accountability and capabilities of the WWC and the GWP
A structured role for civil society: From Development Financing 2000, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs
committed to the long-term impact of increased access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation and health • established in 1991 by professional members of AWWA • 57,000 members • programs in Latin America, South America, Africa, Middle East, Asia
Global Water • “Overcoming hunger, disease, and poverty…. with water” • founded in 1982 by former U.S. Ambassador John McDonald and Dr. Peter Bourne • currently have projects in 12 countries
established in 1961 • global network active in over 90 countries • living waters program: • help with protection and management of 250 million hectares of freshwater wetlands • promote of activities to restore at least 50 large river basins crucial to wildlife and people • influence private sector practices and government policies to safeguard freshwater resources
founded by Gorbachev in 1993 after the Rio Earth Summit • national organizations & programs in 25+ countries • Water Conflict Prevention program: promote informed and participatory decision-making, regional cooperation and the integrated management of land and water resources at the basin level
Discussion Questions • To what extent do you think NGOs should be involved in transboundary water management? • What benefits do the NGOs bring to developing countries? What hindrances or short-comings are there? • For NGOs looking to implement water projects in developing areas, what policies or regulations should they implement to help ensure the projects’ success?
discussion questions (cont’d) • One criticism of “rich” NGOs is that as organizations, they have a loud voice in the countries in which they work, but they are unable to transfer that voice to the populations that they serve. What problems might this present in the context of NGOs involved in transboundary water management projects? • Contrary to the criticism presented in #4, it has also been postulated that one of the reasons why NGO partnerships may not be that strong in some areas is because the NGOs aren’t involved in decision-making and aren’t considered equal partners. Is there a way that this can be remedied?