Water Governance Reform in Afghanistan: Early Lessons for a Water-secure Future
Water, Policy and Governance Expert
Formerly Project Coordinator for the Center for Policy and Human Development, Afghanistan
Research Officer, Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, Afghanistan
Specialist in Water Resources Management in the context of Water Sector Reform, Afghanistan
Despite being a water-abundant country, Afghanistan still struggles to make the best of its natural resources and to achieve water security for its citizens. A reform of the water sector was initiated as early as 2002, yet the ‘good governance’ principles, enshrined in the recently passed Water Law of 2009 (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, 2009) and the Water Sector Strategy (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, 2008), have yet to demonstrate results on the ground. More noteworthy, early signs of a lack of buy-in for a new model of governance introduced by the international community are now emerging.
In fact, while a drive towards a more infrastructure- and technically-oriented development is seemingly prioritized by the government, this paper argues that in Afghanistan, a choice cannot be made between developing infrastructure or better governance and management: it is about developing both in an integrated way. Additionally, in order to improve governance, it is now necessary to take an adaptive approach to adapt and fine-tune imported models in order to better fit the realities on the ground, and to build on already existing water management institutions.
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Water Governance Reform in Afghanistan Early Lessons