Sector Round Up

Selected links for water integrity - September 2019

A lot of very different and very interesting material was published in September. We have new insight on corruption in Latin America and especially on how women perceive and are affected by corruption. Also available, new straightforward reference material to work out and think about management models for rural water supply and to think about the human rights dimension of infrastructure developments.

Please don’t hesitate to share your views  in the comments or get in touch to share information and material for the next round-up. Thanks!

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Global Corruption Barometer – Latin America and the Carribean 2019

A few months back we linked to the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) for Africa 2019. The new GCB for Latin America paints an equally troubling picture, showing that 19% of people who accessed services from utilities in the previous year paid a bribe. Here too, young people are more likely to pay bribes than those over 55. Fortunately here also, the majority of people believe they, as citizens, can make a difference int he fight against corruption despite fears of retaliation.

What is new and particularly interesting in this edition is the focus on how women perceive and are affected by corruption in the region. The data specifically covers sextortion, “one of the most significant forms of gendered corruption”. Shockingly, findings suggest “one in five people experiences sexual extortion – or sextortion – when accessing a government service, like health care or education, or knows someone who has”. Poorer women are more vulnerable. In terms of action, women are less likely to think people can report corruption without fear of retaliation and they are less likely to think appropriate action will be taken once corruption is reported. This is sobering new insight.

Read the full report here:

See the special feature on the results related to women and corruption here:


2019 RWSN directory of rural water supply services, tariffs, management models and lifecycle costs

In terms of transparency, the first edition of the 2019 RWSN directory of rural water supply services, tariffs, management models and lifecycle costs is an important milestone document. It’s meant as a quick reference guide and inspiration for “financial data sharing and dialogue on tariffs, cost recovery and inclusive financing”. Yes we do have to be more open about options and costs. Maybe in the future we can then also be more open about the costs and the impact of corruption on rural water service delivery.

Download and check out the directory here:

To submit information for the next edition, contact the RWSN Secretariat or complete a form online at:


Impact of Megaprojects on the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation

A new report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation, Mr Léo Heller, focuses on the impact of megaprojects on the human rights to water and sanitation. It provides a set of questions for stakeholders to assess and implement their human rights obligations throughout the lifetime of a megaproject.

Corruption risks in the development of major infrastructure or megaprojects are particularly high, partly because of the complexity of the projects, the amounts of investment involved, and the scale of their impact. The report fails to address the scale and scope of these risks and their impact on human rights to water and sanitation obligations, although they are strongly linked.

The report does mention corruption risks specifically once, while discussing the imbalance of power between players involved and populations affected, admittedly a very important risk factor:

“Another important observation is the imbalance of power between those adversely affected by megaprojects and the proponents thereof, who frame them as solutions for development. The affected population is often reluctant to accept such projects as the most suitable solution for development, since for them the negative impacts exceed the benefits provided. At times, this polarized view of megaprojects further aggravates social conflicts and may increase incidents of corruption by certain actors in the pursuit of economic interests. It is essential to regulate such projects with an emphasis on human rights, to address power imbalances and to mitigate and prevent their adverse effects on human rights.

We believe efforts to combat corruption and realize human rights are always mutually reinforcing: both are necessary. The list of questions provided in the report is therefore still a simple and hence quite user-friendly way to take first steps in examining projects with a human rights lens.

Download and read report here:


Cases to watch

Here is information on more debarments by major development banks of organizations involved in water-related developments in Indonesia, Pakistan, and Colombia.

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