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Governance and the performance of water and sanitation services

One of the forum targets to achieve good water governance in the world (a key condition for forum success) is to obtain a commitment from the participating countries to adopt governance tools, indicators and the means to evaluate the performance of water and sanitation services in order to monitor water policies. Several events will be devoted to this target during the forum. Concrete solutions to monitor service performance will be presented, including the observatory for water and sanitation services, coordinated by Onema. It will be an occasion to review the first national report on the organisation, management and performance of the French public services.

"Managing water for all is not only a question of hydrology and money, but equally a matter of good governance", notes the OECD in its latest report on water governance. Improvements in governance must address above all the performance of water and sanitation services. That is why for over a year the international "Governance and service performance" group, coordinated by the Scientific and technical association for water and the environment (ASTEE) and with over 100 members from 35 countries, has worked on an action plan for concrete solutions to improve governance.

Establishment of a solid regulatory framework, evaluation of service performance using performance indicators and the allocation of budgets for performance monitoring lie at the heart of the action plan that will be debated during the forum. The discussions will be based on a report on many governance techniques already used throughout the world. The report will be published by ASTEE, in a partnership with Onema. One objective of the discussions will be to identify performance criteria accepted by all participants in view of establishing, over time, a shared set of indicators.

The French observatory, an example of service governance

The observatory on public water and sanitation services is managed by Onema and will be one of the solutions presented at the forum. "The observatory was launched in 2009 and provides internet access to public data on economic, technical, social and environmental aspects of services. It served to draw up the first national report on the organisation, management and performance of the French public water and sanitation services", notes Éric Bréjous, the director of the observatory. The report will be presented at the official forum session and during two specific events on performance-monitoring tools, organised by Onema and ASTEE. Among the interesting results are
1) significantly varying levels of information on systems depending on the size of the service,
2) 76% average efficiency of drinking-water distribution systems,
3) infrastructure average annual renewal rates of 0.61% for drinking-water services and 0.71% for sanitation services,
4) average annual consumption per inhabitant of 54.7 cubic metres and
5) average price of 3.62 euros incl. VAT/m3. "By offering interannual monitoring of services and their indicators, the observatory will become an operational means of performance governance for services", concludes Maria Salvetti, an economist in charge of processing the observatory data at Onema.

The official session on "Good governance and service performance" will be held on Wednesday, 14 March, from 14.30 to 16.30.
The French observatory on public water and sanitation services was selected for the Forum solutions village. It will also be presented at the French pavilion.



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