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Clean Water Access

Volume 455: debated on Monday 15 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support his Department is providing to facilitate the creation of public partnership bodies in the water industry in developing countries to improve access to clean water. (114584)

In March 2006, the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation announced an action plan which included a call for a global mechanism to promote water operators partnerships. We intend to increase support to various partnership initiatives that support public utilities and we are currently considering how best to do this. We are discussing a number of proposals with potential partners. Previous experience has shown that twinning agreements and capacity-building arrangements in the sector can often be ineffective. Our approach to public partnerships should capitalise on this experience and be based on evidence of what works best. In particular, we want to be sure that any new partnerships are set up with the right incentives in place and do not duplicate or undermine the efforts of other established partnership approaches.

In addition, DFID has supported the International Benchmarking Network for water and sanitation utilities (IBNET) since 2002. This is an initiative of the multi-donor Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP) to compile and share performance indicators in order to help improve efficiency.