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Water Governance in Transition
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment.
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The constraints experienced by water utilities in developing countries, with regard to the universal provision of access to water and improved water services, have been defined by international policymakers as "a crisis of governance". This study departs from the theoretical perspectives on governance and aspires to accumulate knowledge and advance understanding on how the performance of water utilities can be enhanced.

The thesis comprises five papers and the cover essay. Four of the papers address case studies and one is a theoretically based paper, while all five papers are supported by reviews from the literature relevant to the topic of each paper. The thesis uses insights from literature reviews mapping relevant scientific theories and concepts in the areas of mainly governance, deliberative policymaking and communicative planning, social capital, civil society and institutional theoretical perspectives.

The study integrates different research methods and explores theoretical perspectives on governance to examine the governance aspects of water utilities in the transition phase from public to private management and operation. The study investigates whether the  governance structure that involves the private sector in the form of Public Private Partnership (PPP) of water utility has produced "good governance" and enhanced water governance in two cases, the Lema Water Company in Amman, Jordan and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) in Accra, Ghana. The analysis highlights evidence of governance deficiency. Accordingly, the thesis argues against the policy design that assumes that simply transferring the management and operation of water utility to private operators would resolve the problems of water utilities and enhance water governance.

The analyses and the conclusions reached in the papers, together with a review of the literature on New Institutional Economics theory that knits together all the theories that are utilised in the papers, offer insights in the understanding of aspects of water governance. The insights suggest that policymakers need to better understand how institutions at different levels impact the overall performance of a water utility. The performance of the water utility cannot be detached from the wider institutional setting or reduced to simply changing the operator.  What has been disregarded from the calculus of international policymakers, the thesis mainly argues, is the institutional perspective. The study concludes that actors’ performances are affected primarily by their institutional settings. The constraints of water utilities to provide a better performance and good governance processes reside in different kinds of institutional settings

To address this, the thesis develops a generic institutional framework within which water governance aspects can be assessed at different institutional levels, from the higher level of politics to that of the individual level. According to this perspective, the study views governance process as "the interaction between actors from the spheres of a society within specific sets of formal and informal institutions in a social setting that produces certain political, economic and social outcomes".  It defines good governance as "the legitimacy given by the wider public to institutions in a social setting and the coherency of formal and informal institutions to produce socially effective outcomes for the collective public".

The developed generic institutional framework is used to more thoroughly analyse the two cases integrated in the study. This approach to assessment of water governance provides an explanation for why the water utilities were not able to meet their performance goals and enriches our understanding of water governance processes. It also modestly maps the main problematic institutional areas that in each case constrained aspects of good water governance.

In practical terms, this thesis emphasises that policymakers have to map and identify the institutional factors constraining the overall performance of a water utility, at all levels. The thesis also urges policymakers to be cautious regarding which formulated policies are seen as solutions. Policymakers should restrain themselves from experimenting with policy when they are not sure that certain outcomes are likely to be produced by adopting a particular policy. In the long run, inappropriate policies may negatively affect local institutional settings and are likely to undermine the capacity of local governance.

 

 

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2010. , 104 p.
Series
Trita-SOM , ISSN 1653-6126 ; 2010:06
Keyword [en]
Water governance, public private partnership, civil society, new institutional economics, Accra, Amman
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-12982ISBN: 978-91-7415-666-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-12982DiVA: diva2:320001
Public defence
2010-05-31, L1, Drottning Kristinas väg 30, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC20100628Available from: 2010-05-21 Created: 2010-05-21 Last updated: 2012-02-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Governance of the Amman Water Utility
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Governance of the Amman Water Utility
2008 (English)In: Development in Practice, ISSN 0961-4524, E-ISSN 1364-9213, Vol. 18, no 1, 53-65 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In 1993 the World Bank assisted the Ministry of Water and Irrigation of Jordan in updating areview of the water sector, and thus began the process of Private Sector Participation (PSP) inservice provision to improve the efficiency of the water sector and wastewater services. In thisarticle, the privatisation of water and wastewater services is examined from the perspectives ofstakeholders (input) and consumers (output). The goal is to assess the changes that have beentaking place to date in relation to the principles of good governance. The results from interviewswith stakeholders and from consumer questionnaires show that the privatisationprocess has to date shown only a few signs of ‘good’ governance. Despite the range of stakeholdersinvolved, the state remains responsible for designing a good-governance approach thatis responsive to the concerns and interests of all stakeholders.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2008
Keyword
Governance and Public Policy; Social Sector; Middle East
National Category
Public Administration Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-79949 (URN)10.1080/09614520701778355 (DOI)
Note
QC 20120209Available from: 2012-02-09 Created: 2012-02-09 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
2. Water supply governance in Accra: "authentic" or "symbolic"
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Water supply governance in Accra: "authentic" or "symbolic"
2010 (English)In: Water Policy, ISSN 1366-7017, E-ISSN 1996-9759, Vol. 12, no 2, 272-289 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper uses a governance theory framework to analyse the introductory process for the private sector managing and operating the public water utility Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL). The analysis was performed from three standpoints: process inputs, process conduct and process outcomes. The consultation process on involvement of the private sector was hostile and resulted in a "light" form of private sector participation in the form of a management contract that can be considered a de facto compromise, although not deliberate, by stakeholders. The challenges in improving the water sector performance and water supply services are profound. Because of continuing institutional, social, political and legal constraints, the involvement of the private sector per se is not the solution to providing long-term improvement in water services. The article concludes that it is misleading to leapfrog from government to governance, calling for the transmission of a governance "recipe", as conceptualised in the Western context, and to assume that it can work in an unaccommodating institutional context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IWA Publishing, 2010
Keyword
Governance, Privatisation, Water utility, SOCIAL INNOVATION, CIVIL-SOCIETY, STRATEGIES, GHANA, STATE
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13750 (URN)10.2166/wp.2009.162 (DOI)000276019700009 ()2-s2.0-77950841064 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100628Available from: 2012-02-13 Created: 2010-06-28 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
3. Civil Society: A Revived Mantra in the Development Discourse
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Civil Society: A Revived Mantra in the Development Discourse
2011 (English)In: Water Policy, ISSN 1366-7017, E-ISSN 1996-9759, Vol. 13, no 1, 87-101 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is an assumption that the inclusion of civil society in governance processes promotes democratic performance and contributes to 'good governance', in the sense of pluralism, accountability and transparency. This paper refers to the governance process of the water utility in Accra involving the private sector, and examines the validity of the assumed roles regarding the inclusion of civil society in the governance process. For the purposes of this study, civil society is defined as 'non-state and non-market organisations that can, or have the potential to, champion democratic governance reforms and act as agents for political and socio-economic change'. Contrary to assumptions made about the inclusion of civil society, the analysis herein shows that the inclusion of civil groups in the governance process of the water utility led to hostile and undemocratic processes and to weak indicators of 'good governance'. The main concern of the key actors was centred on how to build consensus around the privatisation programme of the water utility. 'Managing consensus', however, is an inappropriate planning measure. It is argued here that the focus should rather be on how to design governance structures and arrangements, mobilised by legitimate and committed political leadership, to build and enhance the capacity of governance processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IWA Publishing, 2011
Keyword
governance, civil society, public, private, accra, water utility
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13761 (URN)10.2166/wp.2010.087 (DOI)000286510700007 ()2-s2.0-79751523418 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100628. QC 20120210 (Published) Available from: 2012-02-14 Created: 2010-06-28 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
4. A Policy Framework for Governing Water Services
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Policy Framework for Governing Water Services
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The scholarly work shows that the success of the water privatization in the provision of universal water services is questioned and the assumed superiority regarding the efficiency of the private sector is contested. Experiences have also shown that public water operators have succeeded where an effective policy framework and appropriate governance arrangements exist. Supported by lessons learned from water management practices and experiences, both past and present, this paper argues that certain key principles are necessary in order to develop a general policy framework for improving water services. The paper argues that municipal water services should be provided by an autonomous state authority with some degree of decentralization that base its strategy on the recognition of the rights of citizens to municipal water services and the political commitment to fulfil this right. Additionally, water services should be integrated and managed holistically, based on non-profit cost recovery principles and should be open to public participation and public steering with regard to policymaking. The paper finally tests this framework by examining the perceptions of the actors involved in the decision-making process with regard to integrating the private sector in the case study carried out in Accra, Ghana; it shows that these perceptions correspond to the principles stipulated herein for an effective water utility.

Keyword
water services, governance, public sector, private sector and cost recovery
National Category
Public Administration Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13762 (URN)
Note

QC20100628

Available from: 2013-03-18 Created: 2010-06-28 Last updated: 2013-03-18Bibliographically approved
5. Civil Society in the Making: Can NGOs Contribute to Developmentand Democracy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Civil Society in the Making: Can NGOs Contribute to Developmentand Democracy
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The role of civil society in the improvement of equitable development and the stimulation of democratic culture has been notably recognised by international development agencies. In the new policy of "good governance" that proposes progress regarding development and democracy in parallel in the developing countries, civil society is often represented by nongovernmental  rganisations (NGOs).

This paper bases its arguments primarily on theories in relation to the role of civil society with regard to development and democracy to raise concerns about current policy trends of "good governance" in the general context of developing countries with main focus on Africa. The concerns are substantiated by empirical verification through a review of literature. The paper concludes that NGOs are unlikely to have the strength to either promote development or foster democracy.

Keyword
civil society, participatory governance, development, democratic culture
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-13764 (URN)
Note

QC20100628

Available from: 2013-03-18 Created: 2010-06-28 Last updated: 2013-03-18Bibliographically approved

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