Stockholm International Water Institute

UNDP Water Governance Facility at SIWI


Anti-Corruption in the Water Sector

Corruption plagues water resources management, water supply and sanitation service provision, hydropower, and irrigation in agriculture. It reduces economic growth, discourages investment, violates human dignity, increases health risks and robs poor people of their livelihoods and their access to water. Yet, the systematic means to prevent and punish corruption in the governance of water are often absent.

Curbing Corruption: Concrete Steps
Opaque power structures can breed corruption. Legal, financial, public service delivery system and private sector reforms are all critical anti-corruption measures. Without the forceful inclusion of transparency in water policy reform and implementation, fair and efficient allocation of water resources and services is difficult to achieve. Awareness raising and decentralisation are often needed but can also introduce complications: increased public focus on corruption can make the problem more difficult to root out and coping strategies for the poor more expensive. It must therefore be accompanied by access to the resources and confidence to act on the information gained. Accountability is key – without it, reforms to decentralize power can simply shift the problem from central authorities

Getting to Good Governance
The UNDP Water Governance Facility at SIWI supports effective water governance to promote sustainable development of water resources, water supply and sanitation services. This is partly done through WGF providing UNDP country offices and other partners with technical assistance and access to good practice on expanding access to water and sanitation services, including community-government and private-public partnerships.

How it Works: The WGF experience WGF can provide support to help nations in their efforts to combat corruption in the way that will work for them. We currently support activities to promote integrity and anti-corruption in water in Kenya and the SADC region. For example, in Kenya, a Human Rights-Based Approach is being employed to reinforce participation, inclusion, accountability, rule of law and transparency to improve water governance, and enhance reforms and ensure implementation. A training programme on integrity and accountability in water is also being developed in cooperation with WaterNet and Cap-Net.


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