UNDP-SIWI Analyzes Water User-Provider Relations in Albania, Philippines
July 2013: The UN Development Programme's (UNDP) Water Governance Facility (WGF) at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) has published a report titled 'Mutual Rights and Shared Responsibilities in Water Services Management: Enhancing the User-Provider Relation.'
The report examines how programmes in Albania and the Philippines improved water service delivery through a human rights-based approach that clarified the rights, responsibilities and roles of water users and service providers.
The review of the Albanian water sector finds that most water companies do not have customer contracts while those that do have contracts generally protected water suppliers' rights. Consequently, the Water Regulatory Authority of Albania (WRA) engaged in a consultative process that resulted in a model service contract for water supply and sewerage, as well as for consumer protection. An increasing number of Albanian water companies now use this model contract, which contains sections on both consumer and provider rights and obligations.
In the Philippines, a consultation process with customers and service providers resulted in a social contract between water users and service providers, known as Localized Customer Service Codes (LCSCs). During the consultation process, participants discussed cost levels and service options to determine service levels and tariffs that were then written into the LCSCs. According to the report, the LCSCs have resulted in more reasonable conditions and tariffs, upgraded water services, improved collection efficiency and increased local capacity to manage water supplies.
In contrast to Albania's model contract, which is between water companies and individual households and is standard throughout Albania, the LCSCs are between companies and communities, and the details and terms vary by community. Still, both approaches underscore how consultative, human rights-based approaches can enhance equity and efficiency of water services. Both programmes were carried out under UNDP's Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Achievement Fund's Democratic Economic Governance programmatic area, which uses a human rights, pro-poor based approach to enhance access to water and sanitation services and increase their affordability and efficiency. [Publication: Mutual Rights and Shared Responsibilities in Water Services Management: Enhancing the User-Provider Relation]