By Dr Elena Lopez-Gunn (ICATALIST and part of the OECD Water Governance Initiative)
Facts of the OECD Water Governance Group and Initiative
The OECD Water Governance Initiative (WGI) was established as a follow-up to the agreements made related to the ‘Good Governance’ theme at the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille, 2013. The GWI was officially launched on 27-28 March 2013 at OECD Headquarters. One of its main successes was to create thematic working groups. By the 7th World Water Forum in Korea, 2015, a major achievement was the adoption of the OECD Principles on Water Governance. The IWGI has taken a leading role in developing a strong analytical framework to further understand water governance. However, what has been particularly remarkable is the approach adopted: a truly participatory stakeholder engagement process that involves more than 115 partners, including practitioners, policymakers and representatives from major stakeholder groups.
The role of groundwater governance: the topic of the 03-04 July 2017 meeting
On 03-04 July 2017, at the 9th Meeting of the Water Governance Initiative at OECD Headquarters in Paris, the main discussion was on the current push for a water governance indicator framework related to the OECD Principles on Water Governance, to be used as a user-driven self-assessment tool for interested countries and stakeholders. Also discussed was the Best Practice Working Group, which has collected a series of water governance stories to illustrate how the OECD Principles can be implemented at different levels, and highlighted results achieved and lessons learned during policy and reform processes. The results of the work on the governance indicators implementation and the water governance stories, also as they relate to groundwater, will feature in the forthcoming OECD Water Governance at a Glance publication to be presented at the 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia, Brazil, 2018.
How GRIPP participated in the event
An important part of the meeting was the gathering of knowledge and information from all partners and short presentations on current initiatives. As such, GRIPP was presented by Dr Mark Smith, Director, IUCN Global Water Programme, who is partner in GRIPP. He stressed the importance of looking at and operationalising groundwater governance as a critical component of developing an implementation strategy for the Groundwater Governance Framework for Action.
Announcing the forthcoming book on Advances in Groundwater Governance
At the meeting, the soon to be published book on Advances in Groundwater Governance was announced. Published by CRC Taylor & Francis, it is edited by Karen Villholth, GRIPP´s Coordinator, together with Elena López-Gunn, Kirstin Conti, Alberto Garrido, and Jac van der Gun. The book presents the experience and knowledge on the complexity and the many dimensions of groundwater governance, which is captured in twenty-eight chapters, written by a team of leading experts from different parts of the world and with a diversity of professional and disciplinary backgrounds.
The book aims to describe the state-of-the-art and latest developments regarding each of the themes addressed, paying attention to the wide variation in conditions observed around the globe. One of the chapters is written by Aziza Akhmouch, who has led the OECD Initiative, together with Delphine Clavreul, and it summarises the OECD Water Initiative with a special focus on groundwater governance.