Governance and Planning theme

Ethiopia is committed to a process of decentralisation of governance of a range of state provided services. This reflects in part its federal nature and in part, a desire to make service delivery more equitable, efficient and effective. The result is a range of challenges to stakeholders at all levels - from the region to the kebele.

At its simplest, water governance is about how decisions are made around managing water resources, and providing water and sanitation services. Understanding local governance implies understanding local institutions, and the relationships between them. Strengthening local governance implies strengthening the processes that underlie it, and increasing their transparency, accountability and effectiveness.

At the heart of strong governance lies planning. Planning is ideally cyclical, with lessons learned feeding back into further decision making. Participation in planning is important if service users are to feel a sense of ownership over services, particularly if they are expected to finance and manage their upkeep as in rural Ethiopia. Participation by empowered and aware citizens is also important if governance is to be truly decentralised, and if the desired benefits of decentralisation are to be achieved.


The planning study combined a regional analysis of the implementation of Ethiopia’s universal access plan (UAP) to water supply and assessment of sustainability of water supply services in two woredas in SNNPR. The aim of the study was to gain insight to the governance and planning related challenges that face the region to meet the UAP in SNNPR and by extension the country. The findings showed that there is overall more fund flow and improved pace of service delivery in the sector, in the region, in the past few years. However, there are serious problems in sustainable and reliable service delivery. There is high rate of non-functionality of constructed schemes, unequal distribution of services and way below UAP standard service levels. Structural weaknesses in the sector that contribute to those problems were also identified. Planning in the sector lacks a solid information base upon which to base decisions on resource allocation as there is no standard monitoring system and reliable database. Monitoring progress to the UAP or MDG targets is difficult for those reasons and there are high discrepancies between actual coverage and officially reported figures. The roles and responsibilities of service provision actors and their relationship and accountabilities are not clear and hence community institutions managing water supply systems are with weak capacity and no backstopping support. Skilled human resources and physical resources are not adequately available at community/scheme level and at woreda and regional levels. In order to ensure the attainment of UAP the sector needs to prioritize the following areas and work on them: the setting up of an MIS systems and the use of information in planning and delivery of services; revitalization of platforms for coordination and harmonization between WaSH service delivery actors; strengthening management and accountability systems where service providers will be accountable to a functioning service and more capacity building at community institutions and woreda level.

Page last updated 28 Aug 2009