United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Switzerland (Part 2)

IPM-CSD-13 on Water, Sanitation and Human Settlements
New York, February 28 to March 4, 2005
Speaking Points Number 2
Subject: Thematic Session on water:
1) Access to basic water services
Date and Time: 12.4 : 11:30 ? 13:00 Conference Room 1
Dieter Rothenberger
Mr. Chairman
Switzerland would first like to thank for you for your comprehensive summary of our
discussions during the IPM. Switzerland fully supports the practical measures listed
under the item ?Access to safe drinking water?. The few points highlighted below,
refer to this comprehensive concept, and should ideally be reflected in the negotiated
policy decisions.
Position of Switzerland: Water
· Starting Point is the fact that only technically effective and financially viable
operations of the systems which also take into account ecological and social
requirements will ensure lasting achievement of the MDGs.
· Hence, key for sustainable water and sanitation services are professional
operating structures. This implies, that there is a strong requirement to
separate sector oversight (regulation) from service operation. Without role
separation we continue to see a lack of accountability and transparency ?
which are two major sources for underperformance in the sector.
· The Chairman?s summary rightfully mentions ? as does the report of the
Secretary-General of December 2004 ? that the involvement of the private
sector, e.g. via Public Private Partnerships, is one option amongst others to
tackle the challenges in the sector. We fully support this view. Yet, we would
also like to highlight three issue: First, governments should not only ?promote?
public involvement in monitoring and evaluation, but should as a partner in a
PPP negotiate the objectives and ensure the monitoring , since they will
ultimately remain responsible for the sector. Second, in order to increase
public acceptance , but also the suitability of a PPP, local stakeholders must
become actively involved already in the planning process and all the way
through to the implementation. Setting up Stakeholder Committees as key
sources of local knowledge and local attitudes towards a PPP becomes an
indispensable ingredient of a PPP. Related to that, transparency of the
process ? again from planning to tendering and implementation ? is required
to ensure effective and accepted processes. Summarizing, we would like to
state that if governments decide to enter into a PPP, they should structure the
process around some key principles and use available tools like Guidelines
which might help to avoid major stumbling stones.
· Water projects ? independent if private or public ? must have a strong
poverty focus. While efficient operators can reduce the overall costs,
prevailing affordability issues for the poor will have to tackled by the state.
This holds true whether the operator is a private or a public entity.
· Concerning the finance issues, we would like to support the view that
improved national level coordination increases the effectiveness of
government and donor spending. It is obvious that the developing countries
should be in the lead for the formulation of sector plans and objectives. Yet,
improving donor coordination through a lead-country approach will require a
transparent selection of the leading country based on clear and jointly set
criteria, and also the unambiguous definition of monitoring mechanisms for
the donor-funded activities.
Crosscutting issues: Culture and Gender
· Finally ? as asked by the bureau - we would like to highlight the importance of
two crosscutting issues that play a pivotal role in the provision of access to
· The success of water programs depends crucially on the recognition of the
gender specific roles in water management ? both on sector as well as on
household level. Concerning the latte r (household level), there seems to be a
need for more analysis about the effect policy decisions taken at a higher level
have in the end on the specific relations structuring the families, mainly also
between men and women and between generations. Programs to improve
water-use efficiency on household level therefore will have to deal with gender
specific roles , and n ew ways of water provision might influence gender specific
acceptance and usability.