Building water citizenship? Practices of IWRM in Burkina Faso and Ghana


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by J.P. Venot and W. Daré
Presented at the Final Volta Basin Development Challenge Science Workshop, September 2013

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Building water citizenship? Practices of IWRM in Burkina Faso and Ghana

  1. 1. Building water citizenship? Practices of IWRM in Burkina Faso and Ghana Jean-Philippe Venot and William’s Daré Presentation at the VBDC Science Workshop 17-19 September, 2013 Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
  2. 2. A few words about IWRM in the Volta  Policy framework in Burkina Faso (since the mid 1990s) and Ghana (since the early 2000s)  Mid 2000s focused on creating new management entities ● Volta Basin Authority at international level ● Basin Boards and Agences de l’eau at basin level ● Comité Locaux de l’Eau at local level (BF)  Guiding principles: water as a finite resource; water as an economic good; central role of women; and a need for participation and decentralization of decision making CPWF V4 project focused on understanding and enhancing participation
  3. 3. One research question... Do practices of IWRM enhance water citizenship? Citizenship as “bundle of rights” Involves some form of political participation Three inter-connected pillars  Representativity and legitimacy of representatives  Autonomy in decision making  Accountability
  4. 4. Structures of representation Civil society CLE BURKINA FASO NationalRiverbasin GHANA NationalRiverbasin AdministrationRegional representativeDistrict representative ‘Users’ representative Traditional authoritiesResearch and education Women representative FINDINGS • Participation beyond the administration and local government remains limited • When user representatives are present, they appear to be legitimate in the eyes of the decision makers • Whether they are in a position to voice the concerns of water users remains uncertain • In Ghana, the geographical extent of the boards is an impediment to effective representation
  5. 5. Autonomy in decision making “The CLE is an entity of the basin agency; its activities have to be aligned to those of the basin agency” “The main objective of the White Volta Basin Board was to raise awareness regarding IWRM among its members. As for implementation, it is up to them to decide.” Creating/ modifying rules Deciding on how to use resources Ensuring compliance Adjudicating disputes 4 key types of decision-making powers Decision making power limited to: • Sensitizing about decision made by others • Monitoring and calling upon adequate authorities • Adjudicate disputes
  6. 6. Accountability “We can propose but, as civil servants, our hands are tied if our hierarchy does not give its go ahead”  Dominance of the administration in water management structures goes hand-in-hand with upward rather than downward accountability  Upward accountability undermines legitimacy of the structures vis-à-vis the users of resources
  7. 7. Conclusions  Setting up water management entities is a functional rather than a political activity (the process of making decision is secondary to the purpose of the decisions) ● Active participation by actors beyond the administration remains limited ● Users are seen as beneficiaries rather than participants; this weakened capacity building attempts ● Little decision making power is actually being devolved ● Upward accountability and low legitimacy of representatives remain pervasive problems  Such shortcomings are not limited to Burkina Faso and Ghana but “built-in” the concept of IWRM itself
  8. 8. Thanks