Multi-stakeholder Position Paper on the inclusion of community-based water and sanitation program in the new Water Law in Indonesia

Global Water Partnership Southeast Asia and its partners in Indonesia successfully formulated a position paper on the inclusion of community-based water and sanitation program for the Water Resources Law Draft of the Republic of Indonesia. The paper was presented and accepted by the Parliament after series of meetings and workshop co-organized by GWP-SEA together with Unicef Indonesia, Center for Regulation Policy and Governance (CRPG), and Jejaring AMPL (Indonesia’s Water and Sanitation Networks). The discussions that were held on September 2018 involved civil societies, non-governmental organizations, government representatives, academics, related partners, and mass media.

The outputs of the workshops were several suggestions and revision to the articles on the Law Draft. This recommendation was written and straight forward to the respective articles that need revision. The essence of this revision among others: 1) to incorporate community-based water supply and sanitation services as part of the water and sanitation delivery system; 2) to ensure sanitation services as part of the Human Rights on water; 3) bottled water should not be considered as part of the water supply delivery system and access to safe water. These outputs were the results of series of smart discussions, cutting through many noises that might have deviate the efforts along the way. Especially the noise of political issues.

The discussions were specifically centered around the crucial role of community-based water and sanitation program that will contribute 60 percent access of safe water and 80 percent of safe sanitation against the 100 percent universal access targets. The current law draft has not incorporated this issue and focuses more towards the commercialization of water. This is the very reason that all water and sanitation stakeholders need to voice out their concern. However, voicing out concerns is not as easy as it looks, especially when we would like to get the attention of the decision-makers. This is where GWP Southeast Asia came aboard and design the series of discussion which led to the development of multi-stakeholder position paper. The name of “Multi-stakeholders Position Paper” itself was chosen to show that the multi-stakeholders have united to voice out their concerns. This surely will get the attention of the decision-makers.

From the decision-makers point of view, the multi-stakeholders position paper was considered as a long overdue input that they really need from the first place. By having the multi-stakeholders position paper, the decision-makers could understand the multi perspectives of stakeholders and will help them to anticipate and prioritized which issues need to be addressed.

The way the position paper was developed also has a specific strategic thinking behind it. The position paper that was developed was very clear and specific on the issue and alternative solutions, down to the proposed narrative of the articles that need to be incorporated in the law draft. This way, it helps the decision-makers to work fast if they decided to incorporate the multi-stakeholders suggestions. So, this is not just a too-general-and-normative recommendations. The key to develop this was the agreement to focus on a specific issues and work through it until the end. Not leaving any stone unturned.

The overall design of this multi-stakeholders position paper was mainly designed by GWP SEA with the support from UNICEF, CRPG and Water and Sanitation Network. By designing it this way, all stakeholders felt that they are being engaged in a meaningful way, and now starting to see the real power of multi-stakeholder platform. The most interesting of this process was the request of the technical experts from the parliament to GWP SEA to produce more position papers on different water related issues, such as water-related hazards and water for economic activity and development. This should be the challenge but also an opportunity for GWP and its partners to revitalized how the multi-stakeholders platform should work in the future. Voicing out the concerns of civil society in a professional manner.