Center for Governance and Sustainability

at the University of Massachusetts Boston

Water Stress

pg. 15: a new international multi-stakeholder platform to help water-stressed countries and regions [bold in the original] transform the management of their water resources, supported by an unparalleled network of public, civil society and private expertise.


Readers' Guide Comment on "transform the management of … water resources, supported by an unparalleled network of public, civil society, and private expertise”

Everybody’s Business has identified a gaping hole in a high priority global governance area. Water was a local or regional concern for centuries. However, the implications of climate change on water availability and the growth of the international water industry have moved water governance up the policy ladder very quickly.

Over the past two decades, the privatization of water with the cooperation of local authorities has turned out to be a very expensive social experiment. It is probably one of the best documented examples in which a joint public-private endeavor has failed to deliver a public good. While WEF sometimes calls for additional hard data to drive a new governance system, it often endorses ideas, in this case the unparalleled expansion of public-private partnership in water management, without presenting any new empirical evidence of effectiveness.

GRI’s multi-stakeholder platform proposal would bypass existing international and UN system programs. In doing so, GRI seems intent on upscaling the local/national privatization of water into a global public-private partnership, ignoring the negative consequences for local communities around the world.

Related Ideas: Key third and fourth tools; Public-private governance; Managing functional aspects; Managing economic governance

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