Liquid Dynamics II: Some for all? Pathways and Politics in Water and Sanitation since New Delhi, 1990


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STEPS Water & Sanitation Symposium 2011

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  • Proposed structure of this short talk – First briefly present conceptual framework that we have developed in STEPS to criticaly analyse water and sanitation developments, policies and practices Building on the approach outlined by melissa – our starting point is to look at the politics of framing, actors and processes and the resulting pathways (both dominant and hidden)
  • Bring together issues and dynamics that are often separated out – Social, techno and env. key in water and sanitation systes..
  • The ambitious motto ‘sanitation and water for all’ rang in the ears of international agencies at a UN meeting to review progress and draw lessons held in New Delhi in 1990. This meeting acknowledged failures and adopted a less ambitious slogan – ‘Some for all rather than more for some’. The down-grading of ambition focused on low-cost, community-led initiatives and was endorsed by 115 countries. Four key principles were enunciated: integrated management of water and waste to safeguard human health and the environment; institutional reforms including greater women’s participation; community management; and matching financing capacities and needs with better use of existing assets and sustainable technologies.
  • Delhi unfortunately was eclipsed.. The Delhi principles soon suffered under a quasi ‘counter-revolution’ at the hastily-arranged Dublin Meeting in January 1992. With strong World Bank support Dublin prompted a focus on water as an economic resource and was established to bring a water ‘collective’ perspective to the upcoming Earth Summit in Rio. Dublin become the ‘official’ view of the world’s water community – or so the world was told – and the New Delhi principles fell into obscurity. Four new Dublin principles held sway only two of which substantially drew on New Delhi (a focus on women and participation). The most important – and henceforth widely quoted – principle – was that: ‘Water has an economic value in all its competing uses and should be recognised as an economic good’. The principle’s rubric stated that ‘Past failure to recognise the economic value of water has led to wasteful and environmentally damaging uses of the resource. Managing water as an economic good is an important way of achieving efficient and equitable use, and of encouraging conservation and protection of water resources.’  This may have been an important view, but the ensuing over-emphasis in policy and practice caused much of the 1990s to become a waste ground of failed cost recovery efforts and attempts at stimulating private sector entry into service provision as part of the obsession with demand-led, financial sustainability. The Asian Financial crisis in the late 1990s put paid to the involvement of major global water companies due to shareholder concerns about financial exposure and local private sector operators soon found that political and social contestations over water at a local level often trumped any financially doable model of service delivery. The very fact the resource was so important, yet poorly supplied, demanded structural interventions that went beyond the small-scale and local private sector level.
  • Not surprisingly government had to pick up the initiative again and the State was soon brought ‘back in’ by the same institutions that had downplayed its role in Dublin. Under the new watchword ‘governance’ there has been a resurgence in state action, particularly in delivering against the Millennium Development Goals. Indeed the Sanitation and Water for all Initiative places as its principle aim the ‘political prioritisation for sustainable sanitation and drinking water’. In countries where state action has always taken precedence over more liberal, p
  • Liquid Dynamics II: Some for all? Pathways and Politics in Water and Sanitation since New Delhi, 1990

    1. 1. Liquid Dynamics II: Some for all? Pathways and Politics in Water and Sanitation since New Delhi, 1990 <br />Lyla Mehta, Jeremy Allouche and Alan Nicol <br />
    2. 2. Liquid Dynamics II<br />Liquid Dynamics, pathways and politics<br />Global action: wheels & roundabouts?<br />Looking back<br />Pathways taken, not taken<br />Looking forwards<br />New dynamics, new futures and alternative pathway?<br />Aims and structure of this conference <br />
    3. 3. Understanding liquid dynamics<br />Social (social developments; social/ power relations; discourses) <br />Technological (technological change; fixes)<br />Environmental (hydrological, health vectors) <br />Is it reflexive? (whose system counts, who is framing the debate) <br />Is it pro-poor? <br />Is it resilient, durable and able to withstand shocks over time? <br />
    4. 4. Old reinventing and recycling? Disconnected? <br />Policy debates and assessments often disconnected from everyday realities of marginalised and poor women and men; <br />Assume equilibrium and linearity rather than complexity, diversity and chaotic dynamics<br />Lack of critical reflection and multiple meanings<br />Neglect of linkages and interconnectedness<br />What about political economy, politics and power <br />
    5. 5. Global Collective (In)action? <br />Mar del Plata – 1977 – UN water conference <br />UN International Water Supply and Sanitation Decade (1981 – 1990) <br /> Global Consultation for Safe Water and Sanitation New Delhi 1990 – “Some for all rather than more for some” <br /> International Conference on Water and the Environment, Dublin 1992 <br />Rio 1992, Rio plus 10 Joburg, Rio plus 20 ….. <br />World Water Fora – Marrakech 1997 to Marseilles 2012 and beyond <br />
    6. 6. 1st Water Decade - <br /><ul><li>UN led movement focussing on basic needs as human rights and ‘critique of modernism’ (Bell, 1992)
    7. 7. Era of Collective Action
    8. 8. Move from technocentrism to people; social and environmental concerns uniting North/ South differences
    9. 9. Alternatives technologies
    10. 10. Community based approaches
    11. 11. Gender (or women/ WID?)
    12. 12. Role of the state
    13. 13. In 1990 % receiving water services rose from 77% in 1980 to 82% in urban areas and from 30% to 63% in rural areas;
    14. 14. From water/ sanitation for all to some for all </li></li></ul><li>“Some for all rather than more for some”<br /> <br />Adopted by 115 countries, New Delhi had four guiding principles:<br /> <br />(1) Protection of the environment and safeguarding health through the integrated management of water resources and solid wastes;<br />(2) Institutional reforms , changes in procedures, attitudes and the full participation of women; <br />(3) Community management of services; <br /> (4) Sound financial practices, achieved through better management of existing assets, and widespread use of appropriate technologies.<br /><br />
    15. 15. Looking back<br /><ul><li> New Delhi eclipsed by Dublin or strange bedfellows?
    16. 16. Discursive battles around the nature of water
    17. 17. Waste ground of ‘cost recovery’ efforts
    18. 18. Sanitation neglected
    19. 19. The neo liberal Dublin consensus prevailed for at least a decade</li></ul><br />
    20. 20. The MDG Era<br /><ul><li> MDGs – target – driven and disconnected
    21. 21. Lack of donor and sectoral coordination?
    22. 22. Are institutions more or less efficient and equitable than 21 years ago?
    23. 23. State back in
    24. 24. Sanitation no longer taboo but huge challenges (important innovations like CLTS)
    25. 25. Water and sanitation as global rights – but gap between rights talk and rights practice
    26. 26. Is history repeating itself? </li></ul><br />
    27. 27. Global sanitation situation <br />Source: UNICEF/WHO JMP<br /><br />
    28. 28. Use of drinking water in the world<br />Source: UNICEF/WHO JMP<br /><br />
    29. 29. Looking forwards<br />New dynamics, new futures?<br />Urban / peri-urban<br />Uncertainties<br />New relationships, risks (growth and grabs)<br />Climate change<br />New era, new players<br />Alternative pathways?<br />
    30. 30. Key questions<br /><ul><li> What aspects, if any, of New Delhi can be built upon to address current challenges?
    31. 31. What is the general relevance of the Delhi and Dublin principles?
    32. 32. Which alternative pathways exist to avoid ‘more for most’?
    33. 33. How can water and sanitation systems be both sustainable and achieve equity and social justice? </li></ul><br />
    34. 34. Symposium structure<br />Keynotes setting the scene<br />Panel sessions to look at the detail in national and local contexts <br />Plenaries to tie it all nicely together<br />Question time, to untie it all over again and then consolidate? <br />Academics, Policy makers, Practitioners and Doctoral Candidates <br />
    35. 35. Further (collective) failure is not an option! <br />Thank you <br />