World Water Day 2011: The Role of International Donors in Water Policy'

March 22, 2011Andrea Calabrese

March 22nd was World Water Day, giving the world a chance to reflect upon and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. This year’s theme, “Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge,” emphasized the fact that rapid urbanization, particularly in the developing world, is generating significant challenges for municipal governments in managing urban water and waste. To achieve water sustainability, cities must explore avenues for conservation and recycling. Research suggests that the political framework for water resource management can either enable or disable innovations in water conservation and recycling. Canada, for example, has been hindered from implementing wide-scale water conservation efforts due to the “multi-scalar and fragmented nature of water governance”.

Have international donors responded to this challenge? When funding development assistance projects focusing on Water and Sanitation, do they incorporate institution capacity-building or policy reform efforts? Or does their funding focus primarily on infrastructure projects like water treatment facilities and sewers? AidData can be a useful resource in answering these questions, allowing you to filter through Water and Sanitation projects based on a range of activity codes – including “Water sector policy, planning and programmes” and “Institution Capacity Building.”

For further background on the subject, visit Zunia, an online platform for knowledge exchange between development practitioners. The website contains a forum devoted entirely to the exchange of resources and information on water policy and planning. Here are some examples of what you might find:

Governance and Sustainability at a municipal scale: the challenge of water conservation

Drinking Water: Understanding the Science and Policy behind a Critical Resource

Groundwater Use for Irrigation: A Global Inventory