|Towards Sustainable Water Resources Management - A Strategic Approach (European Commission, 1998, 351 pages)|
|Introduction - The Guidelines: A Summary|
The Guidelines begin with a presentation of the rationale for the elaboration of the strategic approach. The strategic approach itself first identifies guiding principles for policy development and practical action; it then clusters programmatic activity into four Focus Areas, within which the guiding principles are to be applied; and provides an overview of priority themes for action implied by use of these frameworks.
The Guidelines' core practical material (Part II) consists of step-by-step suggestions for the planning and implementation of activities. The approach is progressive, entailing the raising and resolving of issues throughout the different phases of the programmatic process by systematic application of the principles. The overall intention is to equip those involved in water-related decisions with a framework of principle and operational philosophy to inform decision-making about water-related investments and actions.
In relation to water, as in all areas of development activity, policy and practice are constantly evolving. The practical suggestions contained in these Guidelines do not provide exhaustive instructions on how to proceed in every project planning and implementation situation, nor do they offer answers to every problem the user is likely to encounter. Rather, they articulate a holistic perspective and strategic approach whose accompanying practical 'what', 'why' and 'how to' suggestions illustrate policy and programme directions consistent with this approach. The suggestions are an aid to effective problem-solving within the Project Cycle Management process, not as a definitive and prescriptive manual. (Project Cycle Management, or PCM, is the system for project development, funding, and evaluation used by the EC in its development co-operation activities.)
The Guidelines should enable all users to upgrade the quality of their water-related work; specifically, they elaborate a framework for the EC's own development co-operation relating to water. This framework conforms with contemporary international thinking relating to water resources management and service delivery, and aims to facilitate the application of that thinking within national and sub-national policies, programmes and projects.
The Guidelines are designed to be used on their own, or in tandem with supplementary tools and data. In the interests of brevity, they do not contain a full account of the global situation relating to freshwater in its various uses, and the implications for agriculture, public health, energy, etc., but only summarise trends. Other documents, including Comprehensive Assessment of the Freshwater Resources of the World (SEI, 1997), can be consulted for information of this kind; references are contained in the bibliography.