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A History Review. The Water Dialogues. Project Beginnings. The United Nations Millennium Declaration: "We resolve to halve, by the year 2015, the proportion of people who are unable to reach or to afford safe drinking water". The Goal of The Water Dialogues:

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a history review

A History Review

The Water Dialogues

project beginnings
Project Beginnings

The United Nations Millennium Declaration:

"We resolve to halve, by the year 2015, the proportion of people who are unable to reach or to afford safe drinking water".

The Goal of The Water Dialogues:

The project aims to lay firmer foundations for meeting the Millennium Development Goals for water and sanitation by assessing whether and how the private sector can contribute to achieving the human right to sustainable and affordable water and sanitation services for all.

the international introduction of multistakeholder dialogue
The International Introduction of Multistakeholder Dialogue
  • In 1999, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said in a speech to the World Economic Forum:

"The United Nations once dealt only with governments. By now we know that peace and prosperity cannot be achieved without partnerships involving governments, international organisations, the business community and civil society. In today's world, we depend on each other.”

  • In the ‘Conclusions of the Multistakeholder Dialogues’ at the Bonn Conference in 2001, it was stated that

The innovation for hosting the MSD as a fully integrated part of this conference has resulted in a richness and diversity from which most delegates seem to feel that they have benefited.

If we are to meet the goal agreed at the Millennium Summit, each day for the next 14 years we will need to provide new access to safe and affordable water for more than 300,000 people . If we had a similar target for sanitation, an extra 390,000 people per day will have to be provided new services. It is clear that business as usual is not an option.

the scoping study background
The Scoping StudyBACKGROUND
  • The Scoping Study addressed the question:

Is there a case for a multistakeholder review of private sector participation in water and sanitation?

  • A Working Group of stakeholders involved in the debate on private sector participation in water and sanitation undertook a Global Water Scoping Process supported by GTZ.
  • At the Bonn Freshwater Conference the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development welcomed the proposal for “a stakeholder dialogue to review the issues linked wit privatisation, because it could lead to a better understanding of the successes and failures in this regard.”
  • Under the direction of two moderators, Deborah Moore and Penny Urquhart, the process undertook to describe the ‘major fault lines in the debate, based on the perspectives of stakeholders’.
the scoping study outcomes
The Scoping StudyOUTCOMES
  • The Scoping report was launched and distributed at CSD 12 in April 2004
  • The South African and German governments both expressed support for the multistakeholder dialogues
  • The major outcome of the Scoping Study was in showing widespread support for the need for multistakeholder dialogue to address the issues surrounding whether and how the private sector should be involved in water and sanitation provision
  • 16 Major Reframing Questions were outlined by the study focusing on finances, tariffs, profits, donor conditionalities, small-scale independent providers, the impacts of PSP on the poor, rural areas, sanitation and sewerage, appropriate technology, participation, regulation, contracts, transaction advisors, labour, environment and trade.
  • The majority of stakeholders interviewed as part of the Study expressed support for a Multistakeholder Review, which would provide a basis for future decision-making, which should be action-oriented, and which would be representative and participatory.
berlin 2004
Berlin, 2004
  • The purpose of the June 2004 Workshop was to review the findings of the Scoping Report
  • Sixty participants representing a wide range of constituencies, organisations and viewpoints attended
  • The debate centred on the findings of the report in an effort to establish whether or not a consensus existed among stakeholders to proceed with a multistakeholder review of PSP
  • It was agreed that further action on PSP was needed
  • So, faced with a range of options as to how to take the process further, the Workshop opted for a process of 'iterative dialogue' through which national multistakeholder reviews would feed into a global discussion and review
  • After the Berlin Workshop, five countries – Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Africa and Uganda - expressed an interest in participating in the multistakeholder initiative
new york 2005
New York, 2005
  • The International Working Group (including Belinda, Helen, Toninho, Robin, David, Richard, Ulrike, Jessica and Penny) met in New York to answer the following strategic questions:
      • Do we have enough funding to be able to continue with the Preparation Phase and Global Review?
      • What should be the guiding structure for the Global Review? How can effective functioning be ensured?
      • How will project coordination be organised?
      • What methodological points need to be further debated and discussed?
  • It was at this meeting that the foundations were established for continuing the Multistakeholder Review. Participants discussed all areas that would first be investigated before making a final decision to proceed. Decisions were also made on the likely governance and structural characteristics that would be required for successful management of the review.
johannesburg 2005
Johannesburg, 2005
  • This meeting presented the first opportunity for National Dialogues to meet and update the Group on their own origins and work
  • The start-up date of each Dialogue was provided, as well as information on the numbers of meetings held and any decision-making achieved so far in relation to the aims established in Berlin
  • Two presentations were held:

1) Participatory Research Methods by Jeanette Clark

2) Recording the Process - Capturing What Happens and Why by Victor Munnik

These presentations will now be briefly outlined

johannesburg 20051
Participatory Research Methods

Jeanette Clark

The advantages of Participatory Research Methods

Better quality of information and analysis

Direct link between learning and action

Locally generated solutions inspire ‘buy-in’

Capacity building and empowerment - giving citizens the tools to participate in governance

Improvement of linkages and co-operation amongst stakeholders

Diverse and flexible set of tools and techniques for information sharing, analysis and planning

It is not the tools that are participatory, but the way they are used to support a process. Thus, careful planning and facilitation are required

Participatory Research Methods:

Focus group discussion

Visual methods

Calendars: seasonal calendars, historical seasonal calendars

Citizen involvement

Group and teamwork

Recording the process: capturing what happens and why

Victor Munnik

Introduce your story– emphasise its value and importance

Remember to describe the significant turning points in the process and the obstacles that prevent it moving forward - emphasise the importance of Bonn, Berlin etc and agreement that multistakeholder process was required)

Tell the story– constant referral to its significance - describe the different story of each dialogue

Introduce and develop the question/quest/adventure that has inspired the need for your story

Resolve the story– reaffirm its value and its result (moral) (address the challenges of the process, prove what the process has changed or should help to change about the water sector)

Imagine your audience and what they want to know

Johannesburg, 2005
london research meeting 2006
London Research Meeting, 2006
  • This meeting offered National Dialogues a chance to liaise with the International Academic Panel to share ideas and reflect on the methodological foundations for robust research
  • Participants included - Leonardo Levy (Brazil), Lis Novari (Indonesia), Sam Watasa (Uganda), Jessica Wilson (South Africa), the Academic Panellists (Miguel, David and Richard), Robin Simpson (IWG), Hilary and Emily (IS)
  • The major lessons learned from the meeting included:
    • The research must be kept focused - the methodology should be designed to reflect the breadth and depth of the debate whilst keeping it manageable
    • The research must reflect the consensus of national stakeholders regarding key issues and hence will create different research agendas in different countries
    • Where analysis of agreed data results in conflicting conclusions, these should be incorporated as representative of the ‘real’ situation - there can be more than one interpretation of the data.
    • There should always be emphasis on the complex nature of decision-making and problem solving
    • National Dialogues should remain abreast of international developments in policy, research and thinking
    • The research should stay focused on service delivery to the poor

Three major elements of research were highlighted via a combination of discussion and presentation

london research meeting 20061
Case Studies

Initial discussion focused on the use of case studies in


The following major points emerged:

Case studies should look at instances of the use of PSP and where it is not used

A balanced set of cases should be sought

Case studies should not be treated as a valid sample survey

Case studies should always be supported by other types of data

David Hall

Structural Elements to Consider:

History, Economics and Politics

This presentation offered evidence and suggestions concerning the history, economics and politics of water

The effects of local and historical context on water supply systems and their development over time was outlined

Water systems are constrained and resourced by economic factors – investing capital, deploying labour, managing water resources – and the need to pay for these things

They are driven and shaped by political factors, the balance of forces that generates commitment to providing water as a public service.

Understanding these material factors is necessary for developing policies to extend water supply services

London Research Meeting, 2006
london research meeting 20062
Miguel Solanes

Looking at known cases and regulatory cases

Structural context and regulatory environment are significant and impact on all types of provision - the success or failure of a utility has more to do with structural context and regulatory environment

Elements to consider in research:

Attitude to regulation, macroeconomics and the availability of raw materials, public participation, technology, and economies of scale

The research should be twofold: it should assess performance and analyse the context. The complexities of the environment should not be underestimated.

Richard Franceys

Analysing the role and performance of the


Assessing the achievements of regulators:

What indicators (if any) are being used by regulators?

How do you measure the degree of autonomy?

It is not about public or private; both should be regulated

There are important questions to ask regarding the efficiency of regulators, their authority to set or influence pricing, and the accountability and transparency of regulators

Equally the involvement of consumers and their representation is an important consideration

London Research Meeting, 2006
berlin 2006
Berlin 2006

The major action points established in this meeting with specific regard to research included:

  • Support for institutional overviews in-country
  • The needs of poor people must come through strongly in the research.
  • There is a need for greater contextual analysis at national and international levels and an awareness of the global context which has changed since the beginning of the project
  • The research will reflect a consensus of the national stakeholders. This means that research agendas will differ between National Dialogues. The end result does not depend on finding commonalities across countries
  • In-depth commonalities are not necessary, but a general overarching topic is essential. Some major commonalities exist and have been identified:
    • Original policy question of The Water Dialogues: “Whether and how the private sector should be involved”
    • Focus on different forms of PSP
    • The Reframing Questions
    • Common dimensions analysed in each country: social, economic, political, institutional
    • Common process and principles

Presentations given by David Hall and Richard Franceys will now be outlined

berlin 20061
David Hall - Presentation

Contextual Analysis

The context in which The Water Dialogues is operating is continually shifting, both at national and international level. It is important to ask how these changes are reflected in the work and approach of The Water Dialogues? How do we expect the future to differ from the past?

It was proposed that Dialogues should look at context in light of the following: country history, international events and thinking, the presence of leaders within countries, the relationship between multistakeholder processes and politics, and the influence of research on policy-making

David Hall - Discussion

Investment and financing for the sector

David proposed that data should be collected to

reflect the following areas:

Finance - increasing access

This should be assessed via looking at the needs of the population and the sources of revenue available for services

Tariffs - are they fair and adequate?

This should be assessed via looking at what tariff income is and operating costs, whether tariffs are covering operating costs and allowing provision for future investment, and what charges are falling on households

Profitability - what are the rate of returns within each sector, locally and nationally

Berlin 2006
berlin 20062
Richard Franceys - Presentation

Researching Water Utilities: Investigating why organisations work

During this session, a range of analytical tools and academic perspectives were presented that could be useful in carrying out an institutional analysis. Discussion ranged from management understanding, teamwork, partnerships, research and technology, and bureaucracy.

Richard presented a range of information on how to analyse institutions - see The Water Dialogues website, Publications and Reports section.

Berlin 2006
berlin 20063
Berlin 2006

Richard Franceys - Discussion

Performance Assessment

1. What is the existing situation (including historical context)?

  • How do we assess an institutional framework – existing situation?
  • Power maps that already exist are a good starting point.
  • Activities and Responsibility matrix also offers a good tool of analysis:
      • Assessing organisational performance
      • Public spectrum/private sector
      • What has happened? Why? Technical? Social? Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities
      • Performance Trends

2. Where do we want to get to?

We have goals:

      • EESERT [Effective, Equitable, Sustainable, Efficient, Replicable, Transparent]
      • Universal Coverage – MDGs at a minimum

3. How do we get there?

      • Replace, Reform, Reorganise, Renew?
      • Fitness for purpose?
stockholm water week 2007
Stockholm Water Week, 2007
  • The participation of The Water Dialogues at Stockholm World Water week in August 2007 served to highlight that there is still an enthusiastic audience keen to learn of the outcomes of multistakeholder dialogue and keen to ascertain the answer to the overarching question of how and whether the private sector should participate in water and sanitation provision.


  • After a very brief welcome to participants and introduction to the process for the Side Event, participants were asked to divide themselves between four corners where representatives of the Philippines, South Africa, Brazil and the international sat
  • Participants were asked to move from one corner to the next every twenty minutes so they had the opportunity to talk to three of the four “corners”  
  • National/international representatives provided a brief overview of their work focusing on:
      • Main issues in national water and sanitation delivery – including controversy over private sector involvement
      • The value of the dialogues in relation to national policy-making
      • Key lessons learned in creating and maintaining a multistakeholder dialogues
second london research meeting 2007
Second London Research Meeting, 2007
  • The purpose of the second Research Meeting was to build up and strengthen the research that was being carried out by National Dialogues. There was a focus on strengthening methodology and presenting/discussing preliminary results. Participants of the meeting were chosen because of their strong involvement in the design of the research and because of the active role they had played in supervising its instigation.
  • Closing Remarks summarised in the meeting report:
  • All the country dialogues have progressed in their research and everyone present understood where each NWG is today and the challenges each NWG faces. The following topics were identified as being of special interest during the meeting: sector financing; regulation; the role of small, non-formal water vendors/operators; size of operation and economies of scale and scope; and understanding the unconnected.
  • The meeting helped each NWG to focus on priorities bearing in mind the time-frame of the project and the resources that are available. Coming together had helped each NWG to sharpen the focus of their research, share achievements and frustrations and learn from each other and members of the Academic Panel.
after september 2007
After September 2007…
  • As detailed in the timeline, Slide 6, members of the project met in November 2007 in Bali, two times in 2008 in London, and recently in June 2009 in Pretoria, South Africa. The reports of these meetings are available at the Publications and Reports section of the website (www.waterdialogues.org).