Latin American countries include water-related commitments to OGP National Action Plans

Opportunities for a common path with the Open Government Partnership

OGP National Action Plans
connect to fulfillment of SDGs

A key policy objective of the Mexico OGP Summit in October 2015 was to support the implementation of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seek to eradicate extreme poverty while promoting economic growth and the sustainability of natural resources. For this reason, a group of countries signed the Joint Declaration on Open Government for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, reaffirming their political commitment to the rule of law, and the principles of transparency, participation, and open government for an effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Several countries took a step further and made specific OGP commitments in their national OGP action plan that are strongly connected to the fulfillment of SDGs. In some countries where both civil society and the government are particularly concerned about the water and sanitation situation, these additional commitments are in line with SDG6, and deserve special mention here:

 

Innovation: integrating plans and commitments on
governance and transparency with those for water

It comes as no surprise that Latin-American countries are at the forefront of this type of commitment related to water. On one hand, according to Inter-American Development Bank statistics, 77% of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean lacks access to safe sanitation services and only the 15% of wastewater is treated before being dumped into rivers, lakes or the sea. On the other hand, as pointed out by Mr. Sanjay Pradhan, CEO of the OGP Support Unit, Latin America is clearly among the most advanced regions in terms of developing commitments and implementing innovative policies to promote stronger citizen participation.

This type of explicit, and to some extent measurable, commitment is a clear break from the past, when water-related targets were generally not put in relationship with transparency and accountability targets. They show great potential for tying Governments to concrete steps towards open water policies. They also raise clear expectations for bringing citizens closer to water management and monitoring (see Chilean; Honduran and Paraguayan commitments for example), or for addressing participation in water in a simple manner (See Uruguay and the participatory approach in drafting the water plan).

However the process is far from being a strong and long-term plan or solution. Such plans are re-evaluated and adjusted every two years, a very short time-period to show results, on a vastly different timescale than that of the SDGs.

Still, with this first set of commitments, we now have a unique opportunity to push forward, broaden, and build on OGP commitments on water to then expand transparency, public involvement, and feedback from the governments and CSOs. The aim is to advance accountability in the water sector for and in line with the SDGs.

 

Way forward: sharing knowledge to
support ‘open water’ commitments

To this end, the Avina Foundation, the OGP Support Unit, the World Resources Institute, WIN, and SIWI have shown interest in working together with governments, civil society organizations, and international bodies involved in open water governance, to share knowledge and position water as a priority for the OGP movement. The aim is to support countries to leverage OGP momentum to increase their chances to meet SDG6 targets,  while boosting the engagement of water experts into OGP as a global initiative to support the 2030 Agenda.

As a first step, 35 individuals representing regional NGOs, government bodies, think-thanks, international organizations, and development banks met informally on the first day of the Americas Regional Meeting in Buenos Aires in November to define the initiative more concretely and set expectations. They agreed to:

  • Exchange information on challenges and progress in the implementation of OGP’s water commitments;
  • Discuss the main problems of the sector and water governance, and possible strategies and solutions to them from an open government approach;
  • Share materials and expertise to prove the benefit of integrity and transparency in water policies;
  • Identify and promote new and more ambitious OGP commitments on water, providing technical and financial assistance for their effective implementation;
  • Increase sectoral capacity in monitoring and open water governance metrics to support the implementation of SDGs.

The next step will be to consolidate the community by sharing relevant experiences among members and present these at 2 webinars to be held before the World Water Forum in Brasilia.

Stay tuned for more information on these upcoming events!

 

Interested in this initiative and keen to know more? Please don’t hesitate to contact Jacopo Gamba, WIN Programme Coordinator, at JGamba[at]win-s.org

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