Public governance

OECD Global Forum on Environment: Making Water Reform Happen - Launch of OECD Publications


Remarks to introduce HRH Prince of Orange and launch OECD Publications (on Financing Water and Sanitation, and Multi-Level Governance) by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General

Paris, 25 October 2011
17:15 – 18:00


Your Royal Highness

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my great privilege to introduce His Royal Highness, Prince of Orange, who joins us here today to deliver a keynote speech on the urgency of water reform.

For many years, the Prince of Orange has raised the visibility and promoted the cause of better water management around the world. In his capacity as the Chair of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB), the Prince advises the UN Secretary-General and is a tireless advocate for worldwide action in the field of water and sanitation.

Let me just say, Your Royal Highness, that I draw inspiration from your deep personal commitment and your efforts to bring solutions to water-related global challenges.

It is a pleasure to have you here.

Before handing you the floor, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight that today we are launching two OECD publications designed to help governments develop policies on water.

The water challenges are daunting.


In developing countries, current spending will need to double – to about USD 18 billion per year – to expand services and achieve the water and sanitation Millennium Development Goals. In addition, investment will be needed to maintain the existing water infrastructure in these countries, which will add another USD 54 billion of spending per year. In advanced economies, meanwhile, significant investment is required to maintain and upgrade water infrastructure, improve water quality, and address increasing competition for water resources.

Closing the significant gap between the funding that is currently available and the investment that is needed will require enormous efforts by governments and the private sector around the world.

The first of the publications that we are launching today, Meeting the Challenge of Financing Water and Sanitation, presents strategies on how finance for essential water and sanitation services can be mobilised.

For example, lots can be done to improve the efficiency of the water and sanitation sector. This report shows how governments can implement the necessary reforms, and establish more sustainable financing for the sector relying on three basic sources of revenue - the 3Ts (i.e. taxes, tariffs and transfers). It also highlights how countries can mobilise repayable finance, including through innovative mechanisms such as grouped financing vehicles and microfinance.

But as you know, managing water for all is not only a question of financing. We need to implement solutions, tailoring them to local contexts and bringing together the main actors from different sectors to share the risks and tasks.

This is why the OECD has undertaken work on governance, which led to this second publication we are launching today Water Governance in OECD Countries: A Multilevel Approach.

This book provides concrete and pragmatic tools to diagnose and overcome multi-level governance challenges in the water sector based in part on practices in 17 OECD countries. A major contribution of this report is its identification of gaps in terms of policy design, regulation and implementation. These relate to the mismatch between administrative and hydrological boundaries, diverging policy objectives, sectoral fragmentation, as well as funding, capacity and accountability issues.

This report also identifies existing governance instruments that can help build capacity and co-ordinate water policies. The report proposes a series of guidelines that we hope will help policy makers not only to diagnose the governance challenges, but also to move towards implementing practical solutions.

To conclude, Your Royal Highness, I am pleased to present these publications to you and I thank you once again for being here to address this gathering.

The floor is yours.