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Policy and institutional development in the water sector of Southern Sudan

The challenges facing scaling up of basic service delivery in the ‘post conflict’ South Sudan are huge but they are particularly acute in the water sector. The recent Joint Assessment Mission (JAM) outlined the chronic situation with respect to access to water and sanitation services but also emphasized the lack of capacity in the water sector to deliver services. In recognition of the challenges ahead, UNICEF, in partnership with, Save the Children (UK) initiated a project in 2005 aimed to provide a summary of the current policy environment and hold consultations with key stakeholders on the way forward for the sector.

The success of this initiative led partners to propose a longer term project to address some of the current gaps in policy and institutional capacity. This project addressed some of the priorities identified in the JAM document for building capacity to meet MDG goals, as well as supporting the process of policy and institutional development. The central focus is improving planning and prioritisation capabilities at all levels of government, increased involvement of water users in decision making processes, and greater integration of WSS activities by all stakeholders (government, donors, NGOs, private sector, CBOs).

ODI's role was to provide technical assistance (research and consultancy) 'on demand' and also assisted in facilitating the policy process (workshops, consultations, 'accompaniment' etc). This included:

  • Support to the steering group (i.e. as one of the 'external resource persons')
  • Support to the Water Dept/secondee (as appropriate)
  • Consultations in Khartoum (to identify ways of strengthening linkages between processes in north & south)
  • Broader review of experience in water sector rehabilitation post conflict (documenting lessons from places like Mozambique, Angola )
  • Inputs to policy workshops in July/Aug and Dec/Jan (tech inputs and facilitation)
  • Support to regional consultations on policy principles (supporting multi-stakeholder dialogue)
  • Technical assistance with drafting policy and defining institutional arrangements (drawing on additional expertise within and beyond ODI)
  • Documenting the process of policy and institutional development and lessons learned (perhaps in the form of a series of working papers).
Tom Slaymaker