Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) faces considerable challenges in the delivery of sustainable and equitable access to sanitation in rural areas. Small steps have been taken towards increasing national ownership of and political commitment to sanitation in Lao PDR. As a lesson learnt; there is no one blueprint for progress in sanitation delivery. Services can be delivered in different ways– e.g. household investment or direct programmatic efforts.
The Mekong is the longest river in Southeast Asia, beginning its 4,200 km journey in the mountains of the Tibetan Plateau, passing six countries and reaching the South China Sea. Policy reforms to adopt integrated water resources management had been initiated and water related laws had been developed. However, there were still major gaps in the supporting knowledge and information. IUCN and its program Water &Nature Initiative (WANI) supported to scale up so called Tai Baan research (villagers’ research) that enabled local communities to represent their own social reality and through media and public forum, this knowledge can be mainstreamed into water management research and implementation.
In Ukraine, reforms in the sector of water supply and sanitation have focused on centralising water supply and sanitation. Efforts have been made to decentralise water management, delegate to local authorities as well as increase supply in rural areas. This has been done through awareness campaigns, capacity building and innovative techniques of wastewater reuse. The key lesson learnt from this case is that IWRM principles need to be considered when planning for water infrastructure.
In Kyrgyzstan, lack of drinking water and access to sanitation is a pressing problem which reinforces social vulnerability and poverty. Financed by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, actions have been taken to improve access to drinking water and sanitation by the Ministry of Health. These projects had a high level of community involvement which increased the sense of ownership.
The Khimti 1 Hydropower Project was initiated to increase hydropower supply in Nepal. Action was taken to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment to identify promotion of livelihood, economic enhancement and social well being of the project area communities. The project formulated an Environmental Monitoring Plan as well as environmental mitigation and monitoring programme. The key lesson to learn is the importance of assessment prior to the development of any project.
In Chile, water has been privatised. However, in order to make sure that access was still available to all strata of society, the privatisation was accompanied by a robust regulatory framework, including a system of direct subsidies for drinking water consumption and sewage services for low income households. This case thus illustrates that in case of privatisation, a direct subsidiary scheme should be considered.
The management of water resources in Bangladesh involves a centralised, heavy engineering approach in order to control floods and install irrigation, however, there is now a pressing need for ensuring social justice and equity in water resource development. Recognising the role of water in poverty alleviation, action has been taken to implement a 25-year National Water Management Plan. Although this is one important step, it is evident that many issues require more work.