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Lessons from Water and Sanitation Policy and Plan Development in Pacific Island Countries

IWRA 2021 World Water Congress in Daegu, Korea (29 November - 3 December 2021)
B. Maximising Benefits

1. Australian National University,
2. Island Hydrology Services

Keyword(s): Water and sanitation policy; water and sanitation implementation plans; governance; small islands; community consultation
Article: Oral:


(a) Purpose of study or research hypothesis

To assist Pacific Island Countries (PICS) to develop water and sanitation policy and implementation
plans. PICs as a region did not meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goals and face an uncertain
future due to climate change.

(b) Key issue(s) or problem(s) addressed

Development of water and sanitation policy and implementation plans in PICs with limited policy
processes, resources and capacities.

(c) Methodology or approach used

  1. Detailed assessment of the local context in terms of social, cultural, economic and governance issues.
  2. Modified 1999 adaptive planning framework of Robert Ackoff, the father of operations research.
  3. UN and World Bank High Level Panel on Water (2018) framework for action on water.
  4. Extensive and widespread community and agency consultations.
  5. Formation of National/Local community/government steering committees.

(d) Results or conclusions derived from the project

  1. Developed world policy frameworks are irrelevant in countries with limited capacities and policy processes.
  2. Consensus and oral communications are critically important in PICs.
  3. Building on the inherent strengths and resilience of island communities is essential.
  4. Nation development strategies provide a useful entry point
  5. There are more immediate threats to water security and safe sanitation than climate change

(e) Implications of the project relevant to congress themes

  1. Local cultural, social, economic, scientific and customary context must be taken into account when developing policy and plans.
  2. Land/resource ownership is central to island life but imposes constraints on water governance
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