A Community of Practice on Water and Open Government

In 2017, the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), Water Integrity Network (WIN), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Fundación Avina formed a Community of Practice on Water and Open Government, or Water Open Government CoP within the Open Government Partnership. Bringing together water and open government experts from around the world, the forum facilitates knowledge sharing and the development of innovative, cross-sector approaches that leverage transparency, inclusive participation, and accountable decision-making to improve water and sanitation services.

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The WASH CoP’s aim is to strengthen linkages between water and open government reformers and mobilize actions that help realize the human right to water and sanitation.

With support from the OGP Multi-Donor Trust Fund, supported by the World Bank, the Water Open Government CoP goals for 2019-2021 include:

  • Creating a help desk to work with interested governments on developing and implementing country specific commitments through OGP National Action Plans;
  • Creating a knowledge and exchange mechanism to provide governments and civil society with technical information and expertise needed to create transformative water and sanitation commitments;
  • Producing guidance materials to help water professionals understand the OGP process and the specific opportunities to advance water reforms;
  • Organizing learning events that increase data sharing, technical expertise, good practices, and peer learning to boost the development and implementation of more ambitious commitments;
  • Strengthening international and national coalitions that effectively use the OGP platform to push for water reforms.

GOOD WATER GOVERNANCE REQUIRES AN OPEN GOVERNMENT

Tackling today’s water challenges, from expanding service delivery to cleaning up the world’s waterways, will require more than improving infrastructure and stepping up investments. Governments and civil society must also address daunting political challenges such as fragmented resource management, corruption, and inadequate, unequal access to clean water that communities rely on for their lives and livelihoods. Adopting open government reforms can help governments strengthen their institutional capacity, facilitate coordination between stakeholders, and resolve information asymmetries to promote fairer, more reliable and more efficient water and sanitation service delivery.

Open government strategies and initiatives are built upon the principles of transparency, integrity, accountability, and stakeholder participation.

Why the Open Government Partnership?

Through the Open Government Partnership (OGP), governments and civil society co-create two-year action plans outlining steps, or commitments, across a broad range of issues. This model ensures that civil society organizations or direct citizen engagement have a role in shaping government policy. Many countries have already developed innovative ideas focused on effective participation, transparency and accountability in policies and programs; open data; and financing for infrastructure development in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) service delivery. OGP includes 79 countries, with a growing number of local governments signing up to participate.

OGP provides countries with:

  • An expanded group of champions advocating for clean and accessible water for all by uniting open government and water sector actors;
  • An inclusive multi-stakeholder forum for achieving nationally directed WASH public service delivery goals;
  • Strengthened political support for ongoing or intended water reforms prioritized through formal government commitments;
  • A participatory approach that builds trust between government and the public;
  • Formal public monitoring and accountability through the Independent Reporting Mechanism, which tracks and reports progress;
  • An opportunity to approach WASH as a basic human right and address many of the root causes of water inequality, including corruption, poor quality, uneven access, and limited public participation.
This Community of Practice offers an exciting opportunity to create a bridge between open government and water sector silos and communities.

We encourage civil society, multilateral institutions and government officials to join our Community of Practice and help us achieve clean and accessible water by:

  • Bringing water sector experts into the OGP commitment process at the national or local level;
  • Participating in the Water Open Government CoP webinars and events;
  • Sharing water tools and resources with OGP actors;
  • Developing commitment ideas and supporting implementation;
  • Identifying opportunities for stronger engagement between water and open government actors.

 

Please contact us at: WaterOpenGovernment@siwi.org

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CALL TO ACTION | Open Government and Water and Sanitation Declaration

The Open Government and Water and Sanitation Declaration is an international call to bring together water and open government reformers and mobilize ambitious action that strengthens implementation of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) service delivery.

The call outlines targeted recommendations that leverage transparency, participation and accountability that can be utilized through OGP and other WASH forums to increase collaboration and realize the human right to water and sanitation.

A broad coalition of civil society and international organizations worked to co-create the Declaration. The Declaration remains open for endorsement from open government and water advocates through September 2021.

Learn about the CoP initiative to create a Water and Open Government Declaration, and take the survey:

If you are interested in endorsing the Declaration and sending a clear message on the importance of addressing WASH through an open government lens, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, please fill out the form in English or Spanish.

Please contact Elizabeth.Moses@wri.org or WaterOpenGovernment@siwi.org with any questions about the Declaration.

For information about the process for developing the Declaration, read our recent blog, available in English or Spanish.

 


RESOURCE | Water and Open Government: A step by step city guide

CoP has developed this guide for city stakeholders to collaboratively develop and implement water and open government actions and commitments.

This guide provides a step-by-step methodology, coupled with a set of tools and resources that will help cities to strengthen the open government reforms in the urban Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector. It will further enable improved coordination between open government reform and water stakeholders, strengthening users’ cooperation with the government through the engagement of the Civil Society Organisation (CSO), and inform action planning around water and open government at the local level.

The guide is produced as a knowledge product of the CoP, targeted to support the OGP Point of Contact (POC) and the Civil Society Organisations working in the areas of open government reforms and WASH sector at the local level.

It is important to note here that the open government and water reforms can be initiated by any stakeholder in a city, including the WASH service providers, who could play a valuable role in strengthening and promoting such commitments together with the local government, CSOs, and POC.

The step-by-step methodology was successfully implemented in the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA), Ghana.

Download the guide

 

PAST WEBINARS

Declaration on Water and Open Government

Tuesday, May 18 2021

The Open Government and Water and Sanitation Declaration is an international call to bring together water and open government reformers and to mobilize ambitious action that strengthens implementation of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) service delivery. Join the Community of Practice and leaders from international organizations, governments, and civil society for the launch of the Declaration.

Water and Open Government, The Cases of Armenia and Ghana

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 

How can open government action plans be used to accelerate reforms that help the country meet their national clean water priorities? This webinar highlighted key lessons and challenges based on existing water commitments implemented to date from Armenia and Ghana.

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