Establish governance

Method

The concept of ‘governance’ refers to the process and procedures involved in governing or leading a group of people in any kind of meaningful or purposeful activity to address a collective issue.  Formally establishing governance for the development and implementation of a National Water Safety Plan assigns leadership and accountability to an individual, group or organisation/institution, to ensure all stakeholders involved are working collaboratively towards common goals and objectives. To explain further, it can be said that governance is the allocation of decision-making powers among relevant stakeholders to achieve a common goal. 

The general purpose of governance is to create norms or rules. Furthermore, governance involves regulating and reinforcing these norms or rules to ensure compliance. The creation, regulation and reinforcement of norms or rules is typically associated with a desired outcome or result. Establishing governance can help ensure a water safety plan is executed corresponding to agreed-upon expectations and strategies, which is managed and monitored by a central party.  

A framework for governance should include elements such as the allocation of roles and responsibilities, the setting and regulation of rules and standards, the designing and monitoring of strategies, and the reviewing of progress and compliance. A framework for governance should aim to promote long term collaboration and cohesion amongst all stakeholders involved with water safety plan development and implementation. 

The building blocks of effective governance include, amongst others, clear accountability mechanisms, robust leadership, strong communication, strategic planning and comprehensive risk management.  

Advantages

  • Establishing governance creates a structure which promotes the achievement of planned goals defined through the development stages of a National Water Safety Plan.  
  • Good and fair governance leads to positive solutions for a collective issue.  
  • Good governance leads to stable and sustainable practices within a committee or working group. 

Disadvantages

  • Poor or disorganised governance can lead to failure to achieve desired objectives. 
  • Governance must be able to adapt to change and go through transitions. 
  • Rigid governance may restrict creativity and limit independence of stakeholders involved with the plan. 

Context

It is important to formally establish governance  prior to the implementation of a National Water Safety Plan. This will help to guide stakeholder interactions and hold individuals, groups and organisations/institutions accountable to actions. 

Examples

Governance framework (PDF 577KB)

The Governance Analytical Framework: Hufty, Marc (2011). "Investigating Policy Processes: The Governance Analytical Framework (GAF). In: Wiesmann, U., Hurni, H., et al. eds. Research for Sustainable Development: Foundations, Experiences, and Perspectives.". Bern: Geographica Bernensia: 403–424. Available at: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2019005

Establishing governance within a local community organisation (PDF 223KB)


More information

An overview of the concept of governance: Bevir, Mark (2013). Governance: A very short introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 

Sustainable Development Governance

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