Entry points and objectives
Integrating integrity into water sector reforms and programmes
Water integrity contributes to improving sector performance and meeting broader sector development goals. As such, water integrity can be integrated in other water sector programmes easily. It is often useful to avoid implementing new parallel integrity programmes and instead focus on making integrity an element of a broader dynamic:
- Transparency, accountability and participation as elements of planned policy reforms, decentralization or organizational restructuring
- Water integrity as a means to reach sector, sub-sector, or organizational performance targets
- Water integrity as a response to corruption scandals in the sector
- Integrity, compliance and risk management as means to improve access to financing
- Accountability and anti-corruption as steps to achieving the human right to safe water and improved sanitation
Water is at a nexus with critical global policy concerns. As a consequence, water integrity has a place in the debate on climate change, environmental sustainability, global security, poverty reduction and development, food, health, education and energy. A water integrity initiative which responds to ongoing debates, current political or management priorities will face less resistance.
To talk or not to talk about corruption
Water Integrity can be a sensitive topic, depending on the context and the emphasis given to corrupt acts and anti-corruption work. Water integrity tools can approach the subject in a more or less explicit manner depending on the context.
In some contexts, it is advisable to include principles of integrity (transparency, accountability and participation) into an agenda that has more traction without explicitly mentioning them. In some countries, this alternate agenda is efficiency, in others it’s economic viability. Effective integrity tools do not have to be implemented under the integrity or anti-corruption banner.
In other instances, it can be beneficial to position integrity initiatives explicitly as part of a broader anti-corruption reform, to connect with other stakeholders or as means to open up dialogue.
Defining realistic objectives and managing expectations
Water integrity initiatives seem to work best when objectives are clearly defined, realistic and shared by various actors. Tools for these initiatives should be selected and adapted to fit these objectives and local dynamics.
No tool is a one size fits all, and no tool will deliver immediate change and solutions. Promoting integrity can be a lengthy and challenging process. Still, every discussion and every project initiated, contributes to building momentum and facilitating the change process.
Assessing risk and prioritizing action
Having a good understanding of the integrity risks and issues to be addressed is crucial to finding the adequate tools. This entails an examination of how processes work and how actors relate to each other.
Comprehensive assessments of governance and integrity provide insight for evidence-based policy development and create visibility on status, priorities and stakeholder dynamics. Participatory risk assessments can in addition help raise awareness and build coalitions.
When prioritizing risks, it’s important to take into account:
- The political climate
- One’s own scope of influence
- Stakeholder capacities
- Established collaborations
- The interests of key players that may support or block changes
Tools for different objectives, risks & target groups
Tools can help raise awareness on water integrity, motivate demand, encourage the development of an enabling environment and address corruption risks.
1. Policy and regulation tools are essential to sector-wide reform processes. They require time and political will. They are implemented by public authorities but can be advocated for and supported by the sector.
Examples: sector-wide performance targets, permitting rules, requirements on information provision…
2. Risk management tools allow for preventive and corrective action in key risk areas. For example, tools for financial management and procurement processes, help promote integrity in risky processes that involve allocation and exchange of large sums of money. The Integrity Management Toolbox contains a collection of financial, human resources and management instruments. It outlines how to develop and implementation strategy for one organization or a consortium of similar organizations.
Examples: integrity pacts, participatory budgeting or budget tracking, accounting rules, codes of conduct…
3. Communication tools can help raise-awareness about integrity issues. They are essential to all integrity promotion initiatives: providing visibility, enabling more transparency and facilitating the engagement of stakeholders.
Examples: advocacy campaigns, public information campaigns, knowledge sharing workshops…
4. Assessment tools are an essential and often first step to define the scale of integrity issues, the priority risks to be addressed and the progress achieved. Carrying out an assessment, especially if it is participative (using AWIS for example), can also help raise awareness and build momentum for further action. An assessment framework should be developed with care to fit project objectives and local context.
5. Stakeholder engagement tools help develop a common understanding of issues, facilitate inclusive decision-making, encourage coalition-building and promote participation. Tools and methodologies to increase social accountability and participation are particularly important to improve service levels and the sustainability of initiatives, especially at local level.
Examples: complaint mechanisms, user surveys, user associations, participatory budgeting, AWIS, …
6. Capacity building is the foundation for any initiative. Tools can rarely stand on their own: they require that stakeholder have the capacities and ownership to work with them. Elements of personal and institutional capacity building reinforce programmes or reforms for more water integrity: raising awareness, building a common understanding of concepts, and motivating networks for the long-term.
Based on our cases and analyses, we found that a combination of tools, buffered by capacity development, is most effective in tackling corruption and promoting water integrity. Communication and stakeholder engagement support this process.
Political backing (or management support) significantly affects the roll-out and potential of a programme.
There is no one size-fits-all solution. Assessing priority risks and relevant entry points, adapting to local context and engaging with broad, localized and specific sets of stakeholders is essential.
Most programmes start with ensuring that all participants of an initiative have a common understanding of the concepts being addressed. Transparency International’s Anti-Corruption Plain Language Guide is a useful reference to reach these definitions.
There are a number of inventories and resources that can provide further background on tools to promote integrity and how they can be implemented in the field. Here is a small selection of the most recent:
- Transparency International’s Tool Gateway
- UNDP Guide to Fighting Corruption in the Water Sector
- OECD Water Governance Initiative inventory of existing tools, practices and guidelines to foster good governance in the water sector
- Mainstreaming Gender in Water Governance Programmes: From Design to Results, a report by the UNDP Water Governance Facility at SIWI on gender practice in water governance programmes
- GWP IWRM Toolbox
- World Bank sourcebook for Deterring Corruption and Improving Governance in the Urban Water Supply & Sanitation Sector
- Toolkit from Loughborough University on Partnering to Combat Corruption in Infrastructure Services
- Sustainable sanitation and water management toolbox (SSWM)
- GIZ anti-corruption toolbox wiki