Water Integrity News - December 2020
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Dear partners and friends,

What a year. It's been bewildering and frightening. Many  partners are facing enormous challenges. At the same time, the importance of a transparent and accountable water sector has never been clearer.

A lot of new projects and important ideas for integrity are being shared and making the network stronger than ever. We just celebrated International Anti-Corruption Day and International Human Rights Day and were inspired by the many new initiatives and resources made available. We also just launched new research on informal settlement water and sanitation and human rights, as well as research on first steps in developing new integrity risk measurement tools.

At our latest General Assembly in November, the network discussed its latest work with utilities and schools in Bangladesh, and projects for community-managed water systems in Kenya and Mexico. We held knowledge sharing sessions on how water service providers can assess and manage integrity risks, as well as on the important issue of sextortion in the water sector. We also welcomed our new Chair, Dr. Letitia Obeng, who brings new experience and wisdom to guide us into 2021 and beyond.

Here's the latest on our newest research and top reads to accompany us into the new year.
Stay well and see you in 2021!

Implications for informal settlement water and sanitation

The human rights to water and sanitation of people living in informal settlements are not being met, despite legal obligations to do so. Our research in informal settlements in South Africa and Kenya shows that it is not just limited resources that contribute to this unacceptable situation; it is stigma, inaction, and poor integrity.

Serving the most vulnerable while fighting for legal recognition

In Latin America, community management of water systems is common and vital. Yet it is hardly recognised in the region's legal frameworks, leaving water committees out of accountability mechanisms and struggling for support.

Corruption is a threat for the water and sanitation sector, but how can we fight it when concealed acts are so difficult to measure? We're seeing promising results from our new index methodology.

Why are gender-blind indicators not enough? 
We need gender indicators, not gender-blind indicators, to show the impact on women of natural resource governance and to serve as guideposts for taking into account gender and gender minorities in our work.
Download the full Issue #3 of the #WaterOpenGov newsletter, where this piece is featured

When public institutions don't pay their water bills, people pay the price

Non-payment has direct impact on the ability of utilities to provide adequate service and hampers the realisation of the human rights to water and sanitation. Someone always pays: when public institutions don’t, the burden shifts to those who face increased tariffs or are left with poor or no service.

What we've been reading and following lately:
Beyond Leakages: Quantifying the Effects of Corruption on the Water and Sanitation Sector in Latin America and the Caribbean - Hard numbers on the tip of the iceberg that is corruption in the water sector: a new Inter-American Development Bank paper on the financial impact of corruption for water and sanitation service providers, and on potential savings from integrity.

Sex for Water: new research from Kenya - Sextortion remains an under-recognised and under-reported yet devastating and frequent phenomenon in many regions, including in Kenyan cities, as shown in this new report by ANEW and KEWASNET.

Accountability for Water is a new action and research programme to strengthen accountability practice in the water sector. The programme already has a browsable evidence base on accountability. Read their latest blog post on accountability to tackle the climate crisis.

We joined Transparency International and others in calling on the UNGASS 2021 to commit to making centralised, public beneficial ownership registers a global standard. Read the letter and join.

Share your water integrity and accountability initiatives with us! We look forward to hearing from you.
Title image credit: Vu Thi Than Thu, Special prize winner, WIN photo competition 2020

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