The Collaborative Behaviours

Based on eight country case studies, regional and global monitoring reports as well as learning from other sectors, SWA partners have identified Four Collaborative Behaviours that, if adopted by countries and their partners, can improve the way that they work together to improve the long-term sector performance needed to deliver sanitation, hygiene and water for all, everywhere and forever.

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SWA partners agree to:






1. Enhance government leadership of sector planning processes

Government leadership is essential for directing and coordinating resources – including external support – around nationally agreed sector priorities, strategies and plans.

In particular, sector development requires a government-led, multi-stakeholder cycle of planning, monitoring, and learning. Where such sector planning processes are weak or not in place, partners should jointly support efforts to build and strengthen them.

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2. Strengthen and use country systems

Core country systems are the fundamental capabilities the effective and transparent management of public resources, including those received through development assistance. These systems include: public financial management, HR management, statistics, procurement and contract management.

Core country systems are key to financing expenditures for water and sanitation services as well as for monitoring and regulating services. Government and partners should agree a set of intermediate steps to progressively strengthen and use country systems to develop, monitor and regulate water and sanitation services.

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3. Use one information and mutual accountability platform

In order to decide where to invest, how to sustain and improve water and sanitation services and to understand which policies and strategies work, it is crucial that sectors have reliable data and engage in critical joint reflection and adaptive management.

Effective development cooperation requires appropriate, inclusive processes that encourage all partners to demonstrate and demand mutual accountability for sector progress.

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4. Build sustainable water and sanitation sector financing strategies

Transparency and predictability of all resources is critical in allowing governments to exercise a leadership role in directing and monitoring sector investment.

Sector financing strategies that incorporate financial data on all 3Ts (taxes, tariffs and transfers), as well as estimates for non-tariff household expenditure, and realistic estimates for all costs categories (including costs for building new WASH infrastructure and costs for governance and sector capacity strengthening), are critical components of effective sector planning in the medium and longer term. They are critical both to domestic accountability, and to the governments’ capacity to hold external support agencies accountable and vice versa.

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Applying the behaviours

Experience from the health and education sectors, which have made greater progress on improving aid effectiveness than the WASH sector, suggests that a global platform such as SWA has an important role to play in facilitating and monitoring improvements in collaborative behaviours across countries.

Going forward, SWA will be putting the Four Collaborative Behaviours at the heart of the partnership’s activities and processes. Indicators for each of the behaviours are being developed and partners are working to identify and agree the instruments and incentives for monitoring these behaviours. This will enable partners to track performance, and hold each other accountable for progress towards more effective, sustainable and equitable outcomes.


The SWA partnership will provide a platform:

- For discussion of aid and development effectiveness, familiarizing SWA partners with concepts, terminology and good practice so that all partners have the confidence to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and economy of domestic and aid sources of finance for WASH.

- For peer monitoring of development effectiveness, including the use of resources, to help governments and development partners better understand the situation in each country and to propose specific solutions in each case.

- For dialogue on constraints identified within partner organizations to the adoption of the behaviours.

- To encourage and support countries in documenting their journeys towards greater development impact and sharing experiences.

Ultimately, achieving these collaborative behaviours requires changes in approach and risk taking by individual SWA partners. Commitment of stakeholders throughout the sector to do things better and differently is a critical.


Changing behaviours to build systems that last: Presenting the Behaviours at Stockholm World Water Week, August 2015


The behaviour documents:

The four behaviours - overview
Behaviour 1: Enhance government leadership of sector planning processes
Behaviour 2: Strengthen and use country systems
Behaviour 3: Use one information and mutual accountability platform
Behaviour 4: Build sustainable water and sanitation sector financing strategies