What is it about?

International efforts have taken place to alleviate poverty by adopting several obligations within the international society; one of these obligations is the provision of safe access to water and sanitation. The MDGs helped people around the world to gain improved water sources and better sanitation. Although the sectoral aid increased from 20% between 1990 and 1992 (only 4.9% distributed for water supply and sanitation (W&S)) to 35% between 2002 and 2004 (only 3.9% allocated for W&S), facts showed that the allocated aid was biased to social aims rather than infrastructural targets. In this study, I am focusing on the donors’ commitment for W&S, whether their ODA for these two sub-sectors is aligned with the intentions of the SDGs. I find that donors allocated W&S aid by focusing on governments in general with higher governance indicators, and that poorer countries received a higher allocation of aid.

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Why is it important?

Following the increased interest of the international society in water and sanitation subsectors, ‎the World ‎‎Panel on Financing Water Infrastructure has developed a model to guide the ‎financing options. ‎‎In addition, a report was released by the 3rd World Water Forum (WWF) in ‎Kyoto-Japan in 2003, ‎‎which proposed doubling the funding options for W&S. Therefore, ODA ‎flows for W&S have also increased. The main objective of this study was to investigate the ‎motivations of the donors driving their commitments to meet the SDGs. I am highlighting the ‎political incentives of the donors for these two sub-sectors. ‎I believe that these goals are of ‎particular importance because they are important not only for life on earth, but also for ‎economic prosperity and growth. The main difference between this study and the ‎other papers ‎that focus on sectorial aid is the specific ethical motivation for providing aid, why ‎some donors ‎are targeting W&S and not another ODA, whether their commitment is in line with ‎poverty ‎alleviation and whether they are merit based aid or a need based aid.‎‏ ‏The results show ‎that donor aid allocation to these targets focuses on governments with higher governance ‎indicators, and the poorer the country, the higher the aid allocation will be. That shows a degree ‎of consistency between the recipients and the donors. Donors tend to dedicate themselves to the ‎international agenda. In general, I find that, in addition to a stronger political commitment by ‎donors, the solution to access to adequate sanitation requires social, cultural and economic ‎dimensions.‎


Still this area of development aid needs better concern and more commitment from the global society, and this is apparent in the results of the MDGs dummy variable with the interaction term that donors tend to commit with the international agenda.

Dr Souha El Khanji
University of Bath

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Donors’ Interest in Water and Sanitation Subsectors, European Journal of Development Research, March 2021, Springer Science + Business Media,
DOI: 10.1057/s41287-021-00367-3.
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