Here are links to some of the most striking stories we’ve been reading about in February 2020. Please share your views in the comments or get in touch to share information and material for the next round-up. Thank you!
The links here go to original material on external websites. WIN is not responsible for the accuracy of external content.
Anti-corruption and water issues are topping the charts (or at least the surveys)
The World Economic Forum has been putting water crises and issues in the list of most pressing global risks for nearly a decade already. Interestingly in 2020, the Forum’s youth wing, the Global Shapers (a network people aged under 30) put water crises even higher on the list, especially in terms of impact.
What else are youth concerned about and what might contribute most to progress? In the African Youth Survey 2020, respondents put anti-corruption at the top of their list, and access to basic services not far behind.
Is this a sign that water integrity is the key issue of the future and an essential strategy to achieve our development goals? 🙂
We think so of course and the results of the 2019 RBC Global Asset Management Responsible Investment Survey suggest that institutional investors may agree: “About two-thirds of about 800 institutional investors surveyed in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia said concerns over water factored into their investment decisions, placing it behind only cybersecurity and anti-corruption as a top Environmental, Social and Governance consideration” said the Vice President of the organization in a post.
And there’s reason to be concerned. A practical example from the water sector came up in another interesting study from February, in which RWSN and Skat Foundation concluded that the biggest challenges water well drillers face are: “(i) lack of capacity in the drilling industry , (ii) inappropriate contracts and standards, (iii) lack of transparency in the procurement process, (iv) finance resulting from unrealistic pricing and delayed payment by the government, (v) corruption in the bidding process, (vi) lack of data, (vii) logistics (long distances between contract locations) and (viii) the non-availability of quality spare parts, which is common to five countries (Angola, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Nigeria and Uganda)” (emphasis is ours).
We’re taking note!
Diverted Resources: the Dynamics of Capture
Water integrity means ensuring resources and services go where they are intended – and most needed – so that water is fairly and sustainably managed.
When resources go astray or are inadequately distributed because of undue influence, we have failures of integrity. These can have dramatic consequences. This past month we’ve seen a number of examples that shed light on the dynamics and scale of capture.
- The World Bank made headlines with a report on elite capture of foreign aid. “The paper documents that aid disbursements to highly aid-dependent countries coincide with sharp increases in bank deposits in offshore financial centers known for bank secrecy and private wealth management, but not in other financial centers. […] The implied leakage rate is around 7.5 percent at the sample mean.”
- Global Witness releases a report claiming Overseas Development Assistance funds were being used to support fossil fuel development projects in the world’s poorest countries in contradiction to its official position on climate policy.
More links and case information
These articles also caught are eye and we’re keen to hear more about the issues and initiatives. Please don’t hesitate to share more links and resources with us.
- Accountability can be hard. It’s even harder in fragile settings. But here are some suggestions:
Eleven Recommendations for Working on Empowerment and Accountability in Fragile, Conflict or Violence-Affected Settings
- On big infrastructure issues, a report on the Brazil Vale dam disaster suggests “profound changes in corporate governance and risk management are urgently needed”: Brazil’s Vale dam disaster report highlights governance shortcomings. And big questions are being asked in South Africa: Consultants’ work on Lesotho Water Project questioned in wake of R113m contract
- And an opinion on governance failures in water resource management: Flooding in the UK isn’t an act of God, it’s an act of government