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Issue 6: Leadership in Water Governance (May 2004)

  • Author: ADB Water for All
  • Create Time: 10/31/2011 17:21:27
  • Last Update Time: 01/29/2014 17:03:52
  Issue 6, May 2004  
Leadership in Water Governance:
Focus on National Water Sector Apex Bodies

In this issue:
  • Regional Meeting of National Water Sector Apex Bodies: Leadership in Water Governance
  • Direction and Experience in Water Sector Apex Body Development
  • Ongoing ADB Study: Comparative Analysis of Water Sector Reforms
  • Profiles of National Water Sector Apex Bodies
  • Special Feature:
  • Water for All Publication Series

Regional Meeting of National Water Sector Apex Bodies: Leadership in Water Governance

National Water Sector Apex Bodies (NSWABs) can bring together government, civil society and other nongovernment stakeholders to promote effective water policies and guide national water sector reforms, said ADB's Lead Water Resources Specialist, Wouter Lincklaen Arriens, at the Regional Meeting of National Water Sector Apex Bodies.

The meeting brought together 50 representatives of NWSABs and water ministries from 13 Asian countries to discuss the role apex bodies can play in creating a strong and sustainable water sector. At the end of the event, participants agreed to:

  • Pursue regional cooperation among NSWABs, beginning with the sharing of basic information among each other; and
  • Develop performance indicators, peer review, and benchmarking make NWSABs more effective.

ADB expects NWSABs to promote a national focus on water reform, guide the reform process to ensure participation and collaboration among all stakeholders, and facilitate policy dialogue and investment partnerships with development partners, including ADB.

View the presentations at the meeting.

Direction and Experience in Water Sector Apex Body Development

Drawing on insights from his extensive experience with various national water sector apex bodies in the past 15 years, Alfred Birch, Advisor to Viet Nam's National Water Resources Council, recommended that

  • NWSABs should strengthen integrated water resources management and water service delivery through advice to government on cross-cutting policy and institutional issues; and

  • The location, chairing, membership and procedures of water sector apex bodies are critical to the effectiveness of NWSABs.

In response, participants of the regional meeting commented that NWSABs need an enabling environment to ensure performance and effectiveness under the prevailing circumstances in each country.

Read the discussions on Dr. Birch's recommendations.

Ongoing ADB Study: Comparative Analysis of Water Sector Reforms

The political environment has a significant impact on water reforms. It facilitates change if the leadership is so inclined or, conversely, it can reduce proposed reforms into a political "football" being bounced from one party to another. The political environment is one of nine factors analyzed in ADB's ongoing study on water sector reforms in its developing member countries.

The study attempts to answer three key questions:

  • What works under what circumstances?
  • What are the preconditions for success in pursuing reform initiatives?
  • Are there commonalities that can be useful in subregional and cross-regional contexts for sharing of experience?

The study covers water sector reforms in 17 countries— from oceanic Kiribati to landlocked Kyrgyz Republic and the People's Republic of China. The analysis focuses on 9 factors: political environment, activities of external support agencies, engagement of "elite" and officials, socio-economic environment, crisis events, performance gaps, reform approaches and stage/direction of change.

View the preliminary findings.

Profiles of National Water Sector Apex Bodies

National water sector apex bodies designed to guide national water sector reforms have already been established in several countries in Asia. They take the form of committees, councils, commissions, authorities and boards.

Read how some of these NWSABs describe their own progress, and insights from their experience.

Special Feature
Water for All Publication Series

The Water for All Publication Series is now available at ADB’s Resident Missions (RMs). Call or write the RM nearest to you for free copies of these publications.

The series includes activity reports, compilation of case studies and recent statistics, papers and articles focusing on various water development issues.

We welcome your feedback on the publications. Send your comments to

Water Home
Home Page - ADB Water Site
Regional Meeting of National Water Sector Apex Bodies
(18-21 May 2004)

Case studies and lessons learned
  • ADB National Media Workshop on Water - Malaysia
    (6 June 2004)
  • Training Program on IWRM and Strengthening of River Basin Committees (RBC)
    (26 July - 6 August 2004)
  • ADB Water Week 2004
    (26-30 January 2004)
"At ADB, we regard water as a resource and as a service. The sustainable management of water resources needs to go hand in hand with the efficient delivery of water services, including drinking water supply and sanitation, and irrigation and drainage. The needs of the poor need special focus in all our water operations, in resource management and in water services."

Jan van Heeswijk
Director General, Regional and Sustainable Development Department
Asian Development Bank
February 2004

Water for All News is produced monthly by the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Water Awareness Program to provide current information to developing member governments, professionals, researchers, private sector, civil society, academe, and their counterparts in the donor community who are interested in water sector issues that affect the pace of development.

For comments or more information contact:

The Asian Development Bank provides the information contained in this newsletter and links to its web site solely as a resource. While ADB tries to provide high quality content on its web site, it does not guarantee the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of this information and therefore will not be liable in any capacity for damages or losses to the user that may result from the use of this information. ADB and its affiliate offices, likewise, shall not be responsible for any errors, omissions or inadvertent alterations that may occur in the disclosure of content in this newsletter or on its web site.

You have received this newsletter because of your registered interest in water and development issues. Water for All News will be sent to you approximately once a month.
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