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Study of National Water Sector Apex Bodies (NWSABs) and Civil Society Involvement in Asia

To support the challenge of coordinating the large number of stakeholders involved in water issues, a number of countries in Asia have established a national water sector “Apex” body, while several others are considering a similar step. Apex bodies are councils or committees, chaired typically by prime ministers or deputy prime-ministers, aimed at providing leadership for the water sector. The intention is to create and sustain high-level political stimulus for policy dialogue which will result in national water action plans - a process in which the relevant stakeholders may collaborate. As part of its water policy, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) actively promotes and supports the development of these “NWSABs” in its developing member countries.

A recent study, commissioned by WaterAid and funded by ADB under their Knowledge Partnership programme, has looked at the Thailand, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka examples of NWSABs and particularly at the extent and nature of participation of civil society organisations in those Apex bodies, as well as in the water policies and plans produced as a result of the Apex-led process.


Peter Newborne, Tom Slaymaker

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