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Ensure high-level engagement with the public sector to unlock opportunities


Ensure high-level engagement with the public sector to unlock opportunities

Ensure high-level engagement with the public sector to unlock opportunities

Posted on August 13, 2019 by Karina de Souza

Authoring Organizations: Pacific Institute
Consulting Organizations: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Universal: No
Applicable Phases: Commit
Last Updated Oct 7, 2019


High-level engagement with policy makers and government officials is necessary to ensure the partnership activities are aligned with public mandates, particularly the public sector mandate for water security.


Without engaging the government at a high level, water sustainability partners may struggle to implement projects that impact public policy or projects. By engaging high level government, partners may unlock access to complementary activities conducted by the public sector. Government actors may also be able to connect water stewards to services like legal advice or public funding. Finally, partners who communicate with high-level government agencies may be able to influence public sector activities that impact the success of a project, such as agriculture, construction of public infrastructure like roads, or educational and public health services.



  • Develop a relationship with local and regional government during the preparation and scoping of any partnership through bi-lateral meetings.
  • Consider including a representative from both local and regional government within the partnership so that more than one level of government perspective is present.
  • Design partnership outcomes and objectives to align with public policy where possible to engage the interest of government; it may be in both the partners and the government’s interest to achieve the partnership outcomes.


In Usa River catchment in Tanzania, the Sustainable Water Management in Usa River (SUWAMA) partnership discovered a misalignment of land use planning and public water supply protection that allowed construction near public drinking water sources and protected wetlands. The local government issued permits to construct buildings too close to the river. To resolve this issue, all stakeholders connected to the water supply and the construction conducted a public debate. The SUWAMA partnership and the associated communities pressured the government departments to enforce the correct laws and regulations. With the Pangani Basin Water Board Community Development Department as a key SUWAMA member, the local land use planning department could not ignore SUWAMA’s concerns. Consequently, permitting close to the river was stopped.

Projects that have validated this Lesson

The International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP) seeks to initiate multi-stakeholder partnerships with the private sector, the public sector and the civil society in order to formulate and implement measures to improve water security for all parties. The Sustainable Water Management ... Learn More


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This lesson learned reflects the beliefs and experiences of the author, not necessarily the Pacific Institute, CEO Water Mandate, or UN Global Compact.