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Framing the Water Challenge: Multilateral donor policies for water supply and sanitation 1960-2005
Umeå universitet, Institutionen för ekonomisk historia.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8047-9669
2006 (English)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Opinions on what is best way to provide more people in low income countries with adequate water and sanitation services have changed over time. A recent policy paradigm suggests that private companies should be involved in WSS service provision to improve the situation for those in need.

This study looks at how issues of water supply and sanitation (WSS) have been confronted by the international donor community and how strategies to improve performance in this sector have changed from the early 1970’s up until today. The evolution of ideas and strategies are linked to overall development policies in order to better understand the forces that have shaped policy redirections in the sector. In addition, the case study of Ghana gives a preliminary picture of how donor policies have been played out in a national context. The concept of problem frames is used as an analytical tool in order to highlight how ideas change and replace each other but also to illustrate how problem frames are becoming more inclusive as new knowledge and experiences are gained.

The study finds that while hardware knowledge such as engineering skills were put at the forefront to begin with, software matters such as capacity building and appropriate management of the sector gained increased attention with time. As the water challenge becomes increasingly framed as a matter of managing scarcity, the economic value of water is emphasized and private sector participation is promoted on a larger scale. With time the cross sectoral nature of the WSS issue gains increased attention as its overall impact on poverty reduction and environmental sustainability is emphasized. This holistic approach also contributes to an increased emphasis on sanitation as important to sustainable WSS systems and services.

The case study of Ghana shows that all in all, institutional change within the Ghanaian WSS sector during the post independence era, mirror international policy trends. Power is moving out from the state in different directions and responsibilities are gradually hived off from the central organization to local authorities or other agencies working on specific issues. Subsidies on water tariffs are abolished and at the end of the period the private sector is also invited to act in the sector. However, recent trends indicate that as democracy deepens and civil society is growing stronger this also effects policy development in the Ghanaian WSS sector.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Ekonomisk historia , 2006. , 98 p.
Occasional Papers in Economic History, ISSN 1653-7475 ; No. 10 2006
Keyword [en]
Water Supply, Sanitation, Official Development Assistance, Institutional change, Problem Frames, Ghana, Private Sector Participation
National Category
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-108090OAI: diva2:728985
Available from: 2014-06-25 Created: 2014-06-25 Last updated: 2015-01-14Bibliographically approved

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Bohman, Anna
Economic History

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