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Aid effectiveness in the water and sanitation sector

It is often stated that the water sector has a weak track record of working in ways that are consistent with the objectives of aid effectiveness and implementing the Paris Declaration principles. However, there remains a dearth of experience of implementation of sector-wide approaches and other approaches that are consistent with aid effectiveness principles and objectives. The sector has developed a ‘truism' that limited progress is due to the complexity of the sector and multiple Ministries that typically have a role at country level. It is not clear whether this is the reality and other reasons, for instance combining urban and rural areas and water supply and sanitation may be more important.

A high level of international attention is currently being paid to aid effectiveness. A High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness is planned for September 2008, and this study aims to contribute a sector perspective to the forum, to complement work on other sectors and broaden the discussion of how aid effectiveness translates into sector programmes.

This study examines progress in adopting aid effectiveness principles in the water, health and education sectors in three case study countries (Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Uganda), analyses the reasons for differences in progress and in sector performance, and will generate a set of recommendations for actions that can be taken to ensure sector programmes make effective use of aid.


Josephine Tucker, Katharina Welle, Barbara Evans