This report presents the results of a research sutdy of the key
relationships between the European Union's development policies, under
the EU's Water Initiative, to provide equitable access of water
services for the poor, and the EU's position to promote foreign private
sector participation in the provision of water services in developing
countries in the context of the GATS. This report has particularly
studied the experience of three developing countries:
Senegal: situated ni teh drough-affected Sahel and one of the countries in its region to start liberalisation and (re-)privitisation of the water sector. It was reclassified as Least Developed in 2001.
Mexico: a Latin American country which has established a national water regime designed to promote private sector participation. The country provides an example of water-related poverty in low-income areas within a middle-income country.
South Africa: An example of an economy that combines features of both an industricl and Least Developed Country. Post-apartheid South Africa has pursued a progressive and innovative approach to water sector reforms which seeks to combine private sector participation with a strong commitment to poverty reduction.
The report proceeds as follows. Section 2 reviews the deficiencies in the provision of water services in developing countries and Section 3 discusses the driving forces behind these. Section 4 provides an overview of potential solutions that have been put forward by the international development community to finance the development of water service infrastrucutre and ration demand. Section 5 presents arguments for and against the rpovision of water services by the private sector in developing countries. Sections 6 and 7 examine the impact of private sector participation in the water sector and the various methods that have been used to delegate (and regulate) water service functions to the private sector. Section 8 discusses the issue of water in the WTO, focussing on the role of the GATS, its modus operandi and commitments that have been made so far in the water sector. Section 9 discusses the results from the country case studies and analyses the extent to which conserns over the libearlisation of water services in the the context of the GATS, and doubts asto th econsistency of such liberalisation with the wider social and developmental objectives in the water sector, are justified. Section 10 presents some conclusion and policy recommendations.
Relations between the EC development policies and the ongoing EU position in the WTO/GATS negotiations on the liberalisation of water services. Final report, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), London, UK, ii + 96 pp.