The countries of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) inherited a well-developed network of water infrastructure from the Soviet period. However, since then, it has seriously deteriorated due to a lack of operation and maintenance, insufficient finance, ineffective environmental policies and institutions, and rapidly rising energy prices. The situation is particularly critical in rural areas where only a small part of population has access to centralized water supply.
The governments of EECCA countries have set the issues of water supply and sanitation infrastructure renovation, new technologies introduction and reforming policies and institutions in water sector. It resulted in the necessity of attracting considerable financial resources and reviewing the institutional and regulatory framework.
Establishing a framework for financial sustainability of water sector and promoting cost-effective use of resources is one of the priorities of GREEN Action Task Force. It helps the governments to elaborate strategic and mid-term financial planning, transform it into investment programmes and facilitate their integration in key policy documents (e.g. country and sector development strategies, medium term expenditure frameworks). This process is realised through National Policy Dialogues that aims to put in place reforms and to ensure that available financial resources are used properly and facilitate access to additional financial resources from donors, International Financial Institutions and private sector.
Thus, OECD helps the countries to plan and implement prioritised water supply and sanitation network investments, to mobilise and effectively allocate financial resources for reaching water-related the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), ensuring that WSS services are affordable for the population and the public budget.
OECD tries to integrate sustainable business models in water supply and sanitation sector depending on each country’s needs and requirements. Several models implemented by GREEN Action Task Force programme can be cited : delegation of service provision, regionalisation, small town water, multi-service, rayon water utilities.
OECD highlights the importance of engaging private sector participation (PSP) and establishing public-private partnership for improving water supply and sanitation services that can be considered as a key of solving existing problems. It helps to foster efficiency, to improve the quality and reliability of WSS services and to ensure sustainable provision of affordable services WSS to local population. Involving private investments means the attraction of new financial resources, expansion of technical knowledge and managerial skills. Therefore, OECD tries to develop and implement a more effective policy and regulatory environment for PSP in different country contexts.
Furthermore, the work of GREEN Action Task Force led in WSS sector consists of helping the local governments to improve and reinforce the institutional and regulatory framework, including compiling and analysing information on institutional and legal reforms for regional dialogue and national level policy making, overcoming the fragmentation of services, revising contractual arrangements between municipalities and operators.