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Management and governance support to the Water Stewardship Initiative Water Fund – CuencaVerde (Medellin), Colombia

IWRA World Water Congress 2017 - Cancun Mexico
C. Stakeholder participation
Author(s): Carmen Fernandez
Jacopo Gamba

Carmen Fernandez
Jacopo Gamba

Keyword(s): transparency, integrity, accountability, water stewardship, multi-stakeholder initiatives

Water Funds are water stewardship initiatives in which public and private actors work together to provide water security to metropolitan areas by investing in natural infrastructure.
Trust and transparency are essential elements for the success of multi-stakeholder processes. Therefore, TNC and WIN have joined efforts to make Water Funds more transparent, secure and participatory. A better understanding of the success of these initiatives in the terms of integrity and effectiveness will be paramount to secure the investments and fine-tune their multi-stakeholder structures.
Collaborative basin management requires mechanisms to ensure open accountability, as well as different levels of participation, to ensure the inhabitants of the basins and their beneficiaries enjoy due participation and benefit from access to information. The Water Funds are based on processes that ensure the protection of the investments of contributors and the effective management of the Fund.
The first phase of the project has focused on the analysis of the Water Fund CuencaVerde, in Medellin, Colombia. The methodology used included a pre-analysis of the accumulated lessons learnt and a series of interviews with key stakeholders from 3 different Water Funds in Colombia. The collected information offered a preliminary overview of the internal governance of the Funds and their appreciation of transparency as a value added for the management. During a subsequent mission in Colombia, the analysis was consolidated through interviews with actors involved in CuencaVerde, and a participatory workshop on strategic planning and integrity management. This methodology is based in the  ‘Guide for Managing Integrity in Water Stewardship Initiatives’ published by the CEO Water Mandate and WIN in 2015.
As a result of this process, CuencaVerde:
  • Generated a clear description of its purpose and structure in the form of its Organizational Model
  • Selected 3 key risks, that can potentially affect the Fund, to be closely monitored and managed
  • Created a map of already-established management measures according to the phases of the Fund (pre-feasibility, design, creation, operation, consolidation)
  • Identified already-established management measures that can work as potential entry points to manage and tackle the selected risks
The project raised awareness among stakeholders on the importance of keeping high levels of transparency, accountability and fair participation. It also generated a climate of trust to openly talk about integrity issues and generated a commitment to commonly design and implement integrity measures.
For the second phase, the project aims to create and implement an action plan for CuencaVerde in order to start a change process directed to control and mitigate the selected risks. 
It is important to note that different Water Funds may have very different structures and dynamics. Therefore, other Water Funds will also be analysed during the second phase of the project in order to allow the methodology to be broadly applicable. 
A deep understanding, analysis and management of the integrity issues in Water Fund is of extreme importance to foster the trust among stakeholders. This project presents a concrete tool to support such water stewardship initiatives in establishing concrete measures to maintain high efficiency and integrity levels.
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