Strengthening Public Water Systems
“To develop good quality, efficient and accountable public water services* that provide equitable access to water, for all.”
GOVERNANCE, PUBLIC PARTICIPATION & POLITICAL WILL
Action Plans/Areas of Intervention:
1. Create national and international public-public partnerships to strengthen and develop the capacity of public water services.
2. Create a network of government-supported public water service providers who are willing to provide capacity-building assistance to public water service providers delivering water services to communities in need. This network to also focus on lobbying governments to legislate that proper provision be made for effective participation by civil society and labour in the planning, provision and monitoring of water services.
3. All participants will lobby IFIs, bilateral donors and their own governments in support of water and sanitation services being organised as a public service, accountable to the people through agreed democratic systems. Furthermore, IFIs and bilateral donors must not impose a conditionality that requires the privatisation or commodification of water services or the involvement of the private sector.
4. Call upon governments and international agencies to eradicate corruption by developing an appropriate legal framework that provides for the disqualification of companies found guilty of corruption.
5. The creation and/or amendment of water tariffs that ensure the right of all people to have equitable access to the provision of water services irrespective of their ability to pay, through mechanisms such as, ‘appropriate cross-subsidisation’.
Action Plans/Areas of Intervention:
Conclusion: The message to be delivered to WSSD and to the world in general:
Public sector and civil society must be strengthened to develop good quality, efficient and accountable public water services and to provide equitable access to water, for all.
Organisations represented at the meeting:
Public Water Operators: Rand Water SA; Umgeni Water SA; Porto Alegre DMAE, Brazil
Civil Society Groups: Sierra Club; Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; Youth Water Activists Committee
Government and IGO: World Bank; US EPA
Labour: PSI; SAMWU South Africa; UNISON UK; FNU Brazil; JICHIRO Japan
The launch of an international public-public partnership at the World Summit on Sustainable Development’s Water Dome
JOHANNESBURG, 3 September 2002 – Four public water services providers came together at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to jointly sign a declaration committing themselves to a Public-Public Collaboration, which seeks to strengthen the role of the international public sector.
South Africa’s water boards Rand Water and Umgeni Water are joining hands with Brazil’s public utility DMAE in Porto Alegre and the public Water & Sanitation Department of Recife Municipality.
At a press conference at the WaterDome in Johannesburg, the four partners announced the formation of an international public-public partnership for the improved provision of water and sanitation services in Brazil and South Africa.
This unique international public-public partnership was signed on the last day at the WaterDome, an integral parallel event of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. This agreement is also an outcome of the ‘Action Plan’ group that met to strengthen public sector providers that was part of the Stakeholder Forum’s Implementation Conference that was held on 24-26th at Indaba Hotel, Johannesburg. It is in the process of being registered as a Type II outcome of the WSSD.
This is a first step towards creating national and international public-public partnerships to strengthen and develop the capacity of public water and sanitation services. This public-public partnership has raised hopes that similar initiatives would be undertaken elsewhere in the world.
The agreement was signed by Rand Water’s Chief Executive, Mr Simo Lushaba, Umgeni Water’s Chief Executive, Ms Gugu Moloi together with Secretary of Water and Sanitation, Municipality of Recife, Mr Antonio da Costa Miranda Neto and General Director, Municipal Department of Water and Sanitary Sewerage, Mr Carlos Atilio Todeschini.
In terms of the agreement, all the signatories commit to developing a close network with the aim of sharing ideas and technical expertise thereby strengthening the public sector in both countries. This partnership will seek to find ways on how the respective partners can help each other and eventually develop programmes of action for the delivery of sustainable water services to their respective communities and more specifically to the poorest of the poor.
It is important to understand that although this is viewed as a public-public partnership each of the partners may enter into short-term contracts with private sector organisations as long as they do not affect the core business of service delivery. For example outsourcing services such as security, cleaning and contracting of consultants to undertake technical studies.
For further information, please call
Chantal Janneker, Umgeni Water, Communications Manager on +27 (33) 341-1064 or + 27 (83) 303 6533
Mike Nxasana, Rand Water, Media Relations Manager on +27 (011) 682 0505 or + 27 (82) 389 0267
Antonio da Costa Miranda Neto, Secretary of Water and Sanitation, Municipality of Recife / President of ASSEMAE (Brazilian Association of the Municipal Water and Sanitation Public Companies) on +55 81 34258581 and +55 81 34258180
SOUTH AFRICAN – BRAZILIAN PUBLIC-PUBLIC PARTNERSHIP FOR IMPLEMENTING THE RIGHT TO WATER SERVICES FOR ALL
Two South African and two Brazilian public sector water utilities have met at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and have agreed to establish a public-public partnership for public-to-public consultancy services. The public sector has a key role to play in the sustainable development of the world’s water services * for all of its citizens - rich and poor. This South African- Brazilian public-public partnership calls upon international governments and international agreements to focus on strengthening the public sector so that good quality, efficient and accountable public water services are developed that provide equitable access to water, for all.
We the undersigned public sector water services institutions take the opportunity of the WSSD to join together in a public-public partnership alliance to make the following declaration:
We believe that access to potable water is a human right, as is the right to live in a healthy environment - which includes adequate sanitation services. It is a state obligation to provide basic water and sanitation services to everyone in the nation. We advocate that the social value of water must be recognized and strengthened. Water is a common property, a public good, to be used for providing water security for people, local production needs and ecosystems.
Access to water services has been a very important part of all international agreements to date that have aimed to improve sustainable development, protect the environment and eradicate poverty – and it has been identified as one of the key focus areas of this Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development.
We believe that the public model can satisfy the criteria of improving access to water and sanitation services at affordable levels and in an institutionally sustainable manner. There are many capacitated public sector providers that are efficient, have management expertise, have access to capital and are less expensive than the private sector.
We acknowledge that from time to time it may become necessary to enter into contracts with private sector companies on a short term and temporary basis. Where public providers do chose to contract with private sector providers to serve public customers, clear contractual agreements should be made with the following type of conditions: contracts to be awarded on a public tender basis; contracts on a short term basis; ultimate control to be left in public hands and a strong component of public participation to be included. A system of independent monitoring and regulation should be ensured. (Regulation should be independent of both government and service providers.)
Any basis for a public-public partnership must always take financial viability and institutional sustainability into account. However, this must not preclude the impoverished communities’ access to basic water and sanitation services. An important aspect of the public-public partnership model is that government has to play its role as subsidizer for those indigent households who are unable to pay for water and sanitation services.
* The term ‘water services’ includes both water and sanitation services.
As public water service providers in South Africa and Brazil, we have common positions on government support, governance, public participation and pre-financing conditions, as outlined below:
Government support for public sector providers
** The term privatisation in this document/ declaration means any private capital investment into infrastructure, and includes any of the following three institutional arrangements: transfer of assets into private ownership; a ‘Build Operate & Transfer’ (BOT) contract or a long-term private concession.
In support of these positions we commit to the following actions as individual institutions and in partnership:
In conclusion, the message that we are delivering to the WSSD leadership and to the world in general is that public-public partnerships have a key role in implementing the right to water services for all. Public sector and civil society must be strengthened internationally to develop good quality, efficient and accountable public water services and to provide equitable access to water and sanitation for all.
Rand Water (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Umgeni Water (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.)
For and behalf of DMAE (Porto Allegre, Brazil.)
Water & Sanitation of Municipality of Recife (Recife, Brazil)