Institutional Framework

Compiled by:
Doerte Peters (seecon international gmbh)

Executive Summary

Frameworks for sustainable sanitation and water management are a crucial pre-condition for the implementation of any sanitation and water management intervention measure, as they are the basis for their success and sustainability. Basically, the framework is determined by national, provincial and local policies and legislation (‘legal framework’) that constitute the “rules of the game”. It also includes the institutions and organisations (‘institutional framework’) with forums and mechanisms, information and capacity building, created to establish these “rules of the game” and to facilitate and exercise stakeholder participation (GWP 2008).

Framework Issues

When implementing water and sanitation measures ― including both hardware and software measures ― a framework that ensures the success of the implementation and its sustainability is needed. Without a political/legal and an institutional framework, the success any measure might be undermined by problems with legislation or missing institutions (e.g. for monitoring or enforcement) making sure the measures are implemented in a successful and sustainable way.
A proper framework is determined by national, provincial and local policies and legislation (‘legal framework’) (see policies and legal framework) that constitutes the “rules of the game” and facilitates all stakeholders to play their respective roles. The framework also includes the institutions and organisations (‘institutional framework’) created to establish these “rules of the game” and to facilitate and exercise stakeholder participation (GWP 2008).

Institutional Framework

The term “institutional framework” refers to a set of formal organisational structures, rules and informal norms for service provision. In the field of water and sanitation management, an institutional framework involves outlining the responsibilities of service institutions for various aspects of the sector (IEES 2006).

An institutional framework for sanitation and water management consists of a range of different organisations that are in place (or need to be in place) to develop and manage water resources and the delivery of water and sanitation services at different levels of society. They include: service providers, regulatory and enforcement bodies, local authorities, the private sector, civil society institutions, community-based organisations and NGOs, etc. (GWP 2008).

 

 WSP (2002)

The lack of a sound institutional framework is the root cause of many failures in service delivery — and a major cause of failed water and sanitation provision. Source: WSP (2002)

A lack of a sound institutional framework is the cause of many failures in service delivery — and a major reason for failed water and sanitation provision. Such institutional weakness is often the result of the lack of a clear institutional “home” for planning and management, together with a limited capacity within institutions to coordinate and manage initiatives. The all-too-common outcome are declining services leading to poor cost recovery and ultimately failed investments that do not meet either current or future demand (SCOTT et al. 2003).

The capacity to provide services effectively and efficiently is critical for the long-term sustainability of service provision, not only in the field of sustainable sanitation and water management, but in general. Most of the constraints to accelerated delivery of service are due to capacity problems at provincial and municipality levels. Appropriate management models are required to ensure that sanitation service delivery is sustained beyond the implementation of infrastructure projects (WRC 2003).

 

 WSP 2002

Appropriate management models are required to ensure that water and sanitation service delivery is sustained beyond the implementation of infrastructure projects. Source: WSP (2002)

Institutional frameworks must be stable, transparent and based on the rule of law, respecting fundamental human needs and ecosystems conservation, and promoting local empowerment and appropriate cost recovery approaches (DWAF 2003). When developing new (local) institutional frameworks, it is advisable to build on and strengthen the existing structure rather than starting from the scratch (IEES 2006). Therefore, promotion of substantial institutional reform may be appropriate in many cases and could include providing support to a variety of initiatives in the sustainable sanitation and water management sector, such as: bundling and unbundling of functions (organisational restructuring), strengthening enforcement bodies, decentralisation, improving cost recovery, building public private partnerships (PPPs), privatisation parts of the water and/ or sanitation sector, nationalising parts of the water and/ or sanitation sector, enhancing participation and involvement of civil society and human resources development.

Institutional structures vary from country to country, but whatever the specific structure is like, it is essential to have mechanisms for dialogue and co-ordination. A balance has to be met between providing a fully integrated approach where specific issues may get lost due to lack of expertise or interest, and a sectoral approach where different policies are followed without any co-ordination (GWP 2008). The actors of an institutional framework need to be co-operative, and have clear and distinctive definitions of roles and responsibilities. Therefore, the organisations and actors need to work transparently and in dialogue with each other.

For a sound institutional framework, it is very important to have sustainable sanitation and water management supporting policies and legal frameworks to make sure the basis for the work of the institutions is set.

 

Find More Information on How to Create Policies and Build an Institutional Framework:

 

References Library

DWAF (Editor) (2003): Strategic Framework for Water Services. Republic of South Africa: Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF). URL [Accessed: 15.03.2011]. PDF

GWP (Editor) (2008): GWP Toolbox. Integrated Water Resources Management. URL [Accessed: 16.05.2010].

IEES (Editor) (2006): Challenges in Developing an Institutional Framework. Wolhusen: International Ecological Engineering Society (IEES). URL [Accessed: 27.07.2010]. PDF

SCOTT, R.; COTTON, A.; GOVINDAN, B. (2003): Sanitation and the Poor. Leicestershire/London/Delft: Resource Centre for Water, Sanitation and Environmental Health (WELL). URL [Accessed: 28.07.2010]. PDF

WRC (Editor) (2003): Sanitation Research Strategy. Water Research Commission (WRC). URL [Accessed: 28.07.2010]. PDF

WSP (Editor) (2002): WSP Cartoon Calendar. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. URL [Accessed: 15.03.2011].

Further Readings Library

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DFID (Editor) (1998): Guidance Manual on Water Supply and Sanitation Programmes. London: Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC) for the Department for International Development (DFID). URL [Accessed: 04.01.2011]. PDF

This manual has been prepared as a tool to help improve DFID's (Department for International Developments, United Kingdom) support for water supply and sanitation projects and programmes in developing countries. Its particular focus is on how DFID assistance can best meet the needs of the urban and rural poor for water supply and sanitation services.


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DWAF (Editor) (2003): Strategic Framework for Water Services. Republic of South Africa: Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF). URL [Accessed: 15.03.2011]. PDF

The DWAF offers information about the institutional structure for service provision, which is very helpful for getting an overview of the topic. Chapter summary available online.


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GWP (Editor) (2008): Creating an organisational framework. Global Water Partnership (GWP). URL [Accessed: 29.07.2010]. PDF

The Toolbox by the Global Water Partnership offers a lot of information on institutional roles in the water sector. It offers two main informational sectors in this topic, one sector for creating an organisational framework and one for building institutional capacity.


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IEES (Editor) (2006): Challenges in Developing an Institutional Framework. Wolhusen: International Ecological Engineering Society (IEES). URL [Accessed: 27.07.2010]. PDF

This paper on institutional frameworks is very helpful for getting more information about the topic. It is offering both detailed information and links to further reading material in each of its sections.


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KASRILS, R. (2003): Strategic Framework for Water Services. Water is life, sanitation is dignity. Republic of South Africa: Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. URL [Accessed: 28.07.2010]. PDF

This document includes a list of the key principles in forming an institutional framework, as well as some graphs to show the roles and responsibilities for such a framework. It is good for getting an overview on the approach.


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SCOTT, R.; COTTON, A.; GOVINDAN, B. (2003): Sanitation and the Poor. Leicestershire/London/Delft: Resource Centre for Water, Sanitation and Environmental Health (WELL). URL [Accessed: 28.07.2010]. PDF

This document is on sanitation and the challenges of improving it. It includes some case studies and ideas about building an institutional framework for its cause.


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UNEP (Editor); WHO (Editor); UN-HABITAT (Editor); WSSCC (Editor) (2004): Guidelines on Municipal Wastewater Management. The Hague: United Nations Environment Programme Global Programme of Action (UNEP/GPA), Coordination Office. URL [Accessed: 19.01.2011]. PDF

See document in SPANISH


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WRC (Editor) (2003): Sanitation Research Strategy. Water Research Commission (WRC). URL [Accessed: 28.07.2010]. PDF

The Sanitation Research Strategy includes a part about institutional and management aspects of sanitation service delivery, helping to identify short-term and long-term objectives.


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NGAI, T.K.K.; MILLS, O.; FRENCH, G.; OLIVEIRA, R.; LEPORE, C.; MATTENS, M.; SIBANDA, T.; SWEET, M.; GRAVES, A. (2013): A Global Review of Capacity Building Organizations in Water Sanitation, and Hygiene for Developing Countries. (= conference paper 36th WEDC International Conference, Kenya 2013). Loughborough: Water, Engineering and Development Center (WEDC). PDF

This study attempts to review the global capacity building efforts in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector by identifying the major capacity building organizations, understanding their focus and activities, comparing their efforts, and assessing potential gaps in capacity building services.


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UNESCO; UNESCO (Editor) (2015): The United Nations World Water Development Report 2015. Water for a Sustainable World. Paris: UNESCO. URL [Accessed: 23.11.2016]. PDF

Water resources, and the range of services they provide, underpin poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability. From food and energy security to human and environmental health, water contributes to improvements in social wellbeing and inclusive growth, affecting the livelihoods of billions. This report provides a summary on how water and related resources are managed in support of human well-being and ecosystem integrity in a robust economy.


Case Studies Library

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RAP, E.; WESTER, P. (2013): The Practices and Politics of Making Policy. Irrigation Management Transfer in Mexico. In: Water Alternatives 6, 506-531. France: Water Alternatives Association. URL [Accessed: 11.10.2013]. PDF

This article argues that policy making is an interactive and ongoing process that transcends the spatio-temporal boundaries drawn by a linear, rational or instrumental model of policy. This argument is constructed by analysing the making of the Irrigation Management Transfer (IMT) policy in Mexico in the early 1990s, focusing on different episodes of its re-emergence, standardisation, and acceleration.


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FOGELBERG, K. (2013): From Adopt-a-Project to Permanent Services. The evolution of Water For People’s Approach to Rural Water Supply in Bolivia. In: Water Alternatives 6, 367-383. France: Water Alternatives Association. URL [Accessed: 11.10.2013]. PDF

The dominant paradigm in rural water provision in Bolivia has focused on the provision of infrastructure, whether by government agencies or international cooperation groups. However, the investment in infrastructure has led neither to universal access for all Bolivians nor to consistently high levels of services for those who do have access to a water system. This paper will describe the transition of one international non-profit organisation, Water For People, from supporting dispersed water projects throughout the country towards targeted support of water services at the municipal level, aiming to support permanent universal services.


Important Weblinks

http://www.wsp.org/ [Accessed: 26.07.2010]

The webpage of the Water and Sanitation program contains some radio campaigns that are useful to see what those can be like.

http://www.gwptoolbox.org/ [Accessed: 06.05.2010]

The website of GWP contains the toolbox as a web-based learning tool itself and additionally all publications by GWP. Topics of IWRM, Good Water Governance and many more IWRM related issues are discussed in a very comprehensive way. A very extensive collection of high-quality papers are available in English, French, Spanish and Russian. The site also contains a very extensive collection of case studies

http://www.netssaftutorial.com/ [Accessed: 27.07.2010]

This homepage guides you step-by-step through the planning for sustainable sanitation. It includes a section about institutional framework, where the IEES document can be downloaded.

http://www.info.gov.za/ [Accessed: 04.03.2011]

The National Sanitation Draft White Paper includes a chapter about institutional and organisational framework for sanitation. On this site, you can find detailed information on how to build such a framework, including stakeholders and responsibilities, financial and economic approaches etc. Only available online.