How can we Involve Citizens in Policy Making for Urban Sanitation? What is the importance of participatory and transparent wastewater governance?

  • WIN
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How can we Involve Citizens in Policy Making for Urban Sanitation? What is the importance of participatory and transparent wastewater governance?

Citizens have a role to play in decision making for urban sanitation planning. But, meaningfully engaging with citizens is not an easy process.

Some politicians use the pretence of citizen participation to show that they are considering the population’s point of view or to satisfy a donor’s expectation of participation, when in practice the demands expressed by citizen have little impact on the policy developed. A typical and common example of this is when a public status meeting is held to present a sanitation masterplan that is already fully developed from scratch by a foreign consulting firm. Such a public presentation is needed, but cannot, in my view, be considered as real or sufficient citizen involvement.

The highest level of citizen involvement would imply that citizens works jointly with elected representatives and the administration to develop, implement and monitor policy. Can this be done to ensure better service? How?

Check out the rest of this blog written by Jean-Marie Ily from Groupe de Recherches et d'Echanges Technologiques (GRET) to find some examples and concerns of how citizens can take part in sanitation service development, across the whole project cycle:
www.waterintegritynetwork.net/2017/03/22...ng-urban-sanitation/

In honour of the UN-Water year on ‘Wastewater’, WIN is posting a series of guest blogs on wastewater and sanitation. Do you have interesting stories to share on this topic? Please share them with us here or get in touch at info(AT)win-s.org
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  • F H Mughal
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Re: How can we Involve Citizens in Policy Making for Urban Sanitation? What is the importance of participatory and transparent wastewater governance?

Is involving citizens like involving NGOs, or, both are different?

F H Mughal

F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan
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  • Marijn Zandee
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Re: How can we Involve Citizens in Policy Making for Urban Sanitation? What is the importance of participatory and transparent wastewater governance?

Dear Mugal,

I understand the idea is that NGOs can be involved to facilitate this process, but that the participation should really be from actual individual community members. Part of the idea is that this creates support in communities. Further, the involved citizens should be given a role in the implementation monitoring to provide accountability.

As the WIN blog points out,this is not easy to achieve. It is not hard to imagine the incentives on the side of the government to try and minimize the opportunity for monitoring and to dilute accountability on the implementation of high value sanitation infra structure contracts.

Further, though often encouraged by donors, the relatively short project funding cycles most donors have (1-3 years), do not help in this respect. Setting up a genuine consultative process will easily take the same amount or more time for a large project. Reluctance of "experts" in (I)NGOs and government agencies to have "amateurs" critically examine their plans is also common.

Since I do support the idea that citizen participation is important,I think one interesting model for citizen panels of this type is to ask for volunteers and then select them through a lottery system.

Regards

Marijn

Marijn Zandee

Kathmandu, Nepal

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  • F H Mughal
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Re: How can we Involve Citizens in Policy Making for Urban Sanitation? What is the importance of participatory and transparent wastewater governance?

Dear Marijn,

Thanks for the nice input. Jean-Marie's blog is also interesting. It gives link to the report:

Developing a national policy and strategies for sanitation Guidelines for action - Technical Handbook

Can you link some real-world case studies, where citizens' participation have achieved encouraging results?

Regards,

F H Mughal

F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan
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