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Water governance decentralization in Africa: a framework for reform process and performance analysis

Hassan R., Farolfi S.. 2014. s.l. : s.n., 206 p..

For long time water resources have been managed in a centralized manner where delivery of the full range of water resource management (WRM) activities was usually provided by national governments. Many problems have been associated with the centralized management approach. Inequality in access to water, limited financial and technical capacity at national and basin levels, poor infrastructure and service delivery, declining quality of river basin natural resources, limited stakeholders involvement in decision making, institutional fragmentation, uncoordinated sector policies, and increasing number of conflicts among stakeholders are examples of such problems (Easter and Heame, 1993; Swatuk, 2005). Decentralization of water management and governance through integrated water resources management (IWRM) approaches has been proposed as the appropriate framework to deal with such problems. This was endorsed by many international initiatives and conventions placing IWRM at the top of the international agenda as key requirement for achieving sustainable development (UNCED, 1992; Rahaman and Varis, 2005; GWP, 2000). Since then IWRM witnessed worldwide adoption and many African countries introduced various reforms in their water laws, policies and related regulations and institutions to facilitate implementation key elements of IWRM (Van der Zaag, 2005; GWP, 2000). SADC countries, for example have adopted comprehensive institutional reforms in the water sector towards decentralization of water management (Magaia, 2009; Backeberg, 2005; Karar, 2002; Wester, 2003; Manzungu and Kujinga, 2002). However, the impact of these reforms on river basin decentralization process and its performance is still largely unknown. Very different stages of advancement have been observed in various African river basins indicating the difficulty of implementing decentralization in practice. It therefore seems necessary to understand why some water agencies have succeeded more than others, what are the variables involved in such reform process, which variables have a positive or a negative impact on the implementation of decentralization processes in the African water sector, and which variables could be affected by policy interventions and how. (Résumé d'auteur)

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