OECD chief calls for coordination in water management   2012-03-14 18:59:37            

MARSEILLE, France, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Coordination is needed to address the complex question of water management and governance, chief of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"The question of management and governance of water is complex," said the OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria as the Sixth World Water Forum, the world's largest meeting around water, was in full swing in Marseille, southern France.

The Paris-based organization launched Tuesday a flagship report "Meeting the Water Reform Challenge" on the sidelines of the six-day arena.

"Highly fragmented roles and responsibilities, low financial and technical capacity, and poor regulatory frameworks still present huge obstacles to the design and implementation of reforms," Gurria said when launching the publication.

To address this challenge, the OECD has identified governance instruments that can help build capacity and coordinate water policies.

"Improving coordination amongst different actors is therefore essential for maximizing efficiency and ensuring that our efforts bear fruit," said Gurria, who has been serving as the OECD chief since 2006.

The first problem lies in "how do you coordinate all the different levels of authority," including municipal authorities, regional authorities, state authorities and national authorities, he explained to Xinhua.

"Then you have problems of coordination among sectors -- industry, agriculture," he said.

Water use for the cities and for human consumption also has to be coordinated, said Gurria.

The OECD chief also stressed the coordination between different ministries.

"The ministry of agriculture wants to see cheap water of good quality provided to farmers, who are the ones they are interested," while the ministry of industry and economy cares about industrial need for water and the ministry of environment is dedicated to preventing contamination, he explained.

As regards coordination at international level, Gurria noted the first obvious problem is the river basin.

Some river basins cover a number of countries, which sometimes causes friction and requires coordination and cooperation among countries in water management and utilization, he said.

Then there is the question of sharing all the best practices, he said.

"There is a lot of room for international cooperation, not only in the transnational basins but also in the sharing of knowledge and best practices," he said.

Sustainable financing, solid governance and policy coherence are the key pillars, the building blocks for successful water reform, the OECD chief said.

"Urgent and effective water reforms are a must. The OECD stands ready to help governments and water authorities develop tailored solutions to make water reform happen," he said.

Editor: Chen Zhi
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