Regional Development

Water Governance in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Multi-level Approach


Water Page 1 Water Governance in LAC

ISBN Number: 9789264174535

Pages: 180

Publication date: 16/11/2012


The 6th World Water Forum (Marseille, France, 12-17 March 2012) showed that the “water crisis” the world community faces today is largely a governance crisis. Securing water for all, especially vulnerable populations, is often not only a question of hydrology and financing, but equally a matter of good governance. Managing water scarcity and water-related risks such as floods or natural disasters requires resilient institutions, collaborative efforts and sound capacity at all levels.

Although often overlooked, public governance is also a driver for poverty alleviation in Latin America and the Caribbean but it faces obstacles and requires building and maintaining resilient institutions, encouraging collaborative efforts and strengthening capacity at all levels.

Decision makers face key challenges in terms of institutional and territorial fragmentation, limited capacity at local level, but also poor legislative, regulatory, integrity and transparency frameworks, questionable resource allocation and weak accountability. 


As the 2011 OECD report Water Governance in OECD countries: A multi-level approach stated, the real challenges to effective water governance are to fully implement already existing solutions, to tailor them to local contexts, and to ensure all stakeholders participate. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, blueprint or panacea to respond to governance challenges in the water sector, but rather a plea for home-grown and place-based policies integrating territorial specificities and concerns.

Some of these solutions already exist but need to be better applied and used by LAC countries. Others still need to be developed and strengthened by taking stock or recent experience, identifying good practices and developing pragmatic tools to assist different levels of governments and other stakeholders in engaging effective faire and sustainable water policies.

Objectives of the Report

Based on data collected through an extensive survey on water governance in 2011 to which in 13 LAC countries contributed, the report draws an institutional mapping of the allocation of water policy roles and responsibilities in LAC countries. The report also:

  • identifies seven multi-level governance gaps hindering integrated water policy;
  • highlights good practices for vertical and horizontal coordination of water policy;
  • suggests guidelines to better manage interdepencies across public actors and level of governments in water policy design and implementation.

Table of contents

 Executive summary

Chapter 1
A multi-level governance approach to address complexity in the water sector

Chapter 2
Mapping institutional roles and responsibilities

Chapter 3
Multi-level governance challenges in  the LAC water sector

Chapter 4
Multi-level co-ordination instruments for water policy making: Evidence from the LAC region

Chapter 5
Country profiles

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru 

Related OECD documents

 Related pages

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