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Transboundary River Basin Stakeholders: National Governments  

Government as an Enabler or Facilitator

Participatory approaches to Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) involve raising awareness of the importance of IWRM among policy-makers and the general public. To enable this, government should replace prescriptive, central approaches to developments with a framework within which participatory, demand-driven sustainable development can take place. When governments adopt a facilitating and arbitrating role, the state bears a lesser burden, yet public functions are performed better. Governments need to create conditions under which stakeholders can become engaged and negotiate acceptable solutions amongst themselves.

Government as Regulator and Controller

Policy-making, planning, water allocation, monitoring, enforcement and final conflict resolution are responsibilities of government. National governments set the legal and regulatory framework under which environmental management and development activities occur. Actions by civil society and business are governed and influenced by the policies and regulations imposed by government. Government is also responsible for defining future priorities and setting development directions and for regulating and controlling specialist service providers. The private sector, or independent parastatals, can also play an important role in provision of water services, subject to monitoring and control by some regulatory entity. The trend away from government provision of some core services has been fuelled by many factors, including increasing difficulties faced by many governments in financing the necessary investments in water resources.

Government as Service Provider

Given that water services contain clear public-good elements (e.g. environmental protection, public safety) continued public investment is necessary. Where governments retain provision functions, it is recognised and recommended that provision agencies should not regulate themselves; separation of regulatory and implementation functions helps ensure transparency and accountability. However, within the Limpopo River basin, this separation between regulatory and operator does not exist in Zimbabwe (SADC 2003a).

Click here to view the institutional responsibilities for water resources management in the Limpopo River basin:

The Limpopo River in Mozambique.
Source: Qwist-Hoffmann 2010
( click to enlarge )

 



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