مشارکت های آب کمیسیون توسعه پایدار: خصوصی سازی، مشارکت و مشروعیت
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|3542||2011||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Ecological Economics, Volume 70, Issue 11, 15 September 2011, Pages 1916–1923
Public–private partnerships have been presented as an opportunity to improve the input and output legitimacy of global environmental governance, and they were endorsed by intergovernmental agreement at the Johannesburg Summit in 2002. However, their potential to contribute substantially to these aims has also been questioned. For partnerships working in the water sector, the implications of private sector participation for legitimate water governance have been disputed, for example regarding whether public–private partnerships can provide water that is affordable and accessible to all, and whether they provide opportunities for local stakeholder participation. In this article, these discussions are examined with respect to several examples of public–private partnerships registered with the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. The analysis indicates that these partnerships partially address these criticisms, but also have their own shortcomings.
Public–private partnerships, along with private regulation schemes, market-based governance, networks and similar mechanisms, have been presented as an opportunity to address the pressing problems of global environmental change (Benner et al., 2004, 194-5). However, like many other novel governance mechanisms in this field, they prompt new questions regarding their accountability and legitimacy: what are the sources of legitimacy, what are its implications, and what are the mechanisms for accountability (Biermann et al., 2009 and Biermann and Gupta, 2011)? The Science Plan of the Earth System Governance Project highlights the need to study the accountability and legitimacy of such private and hybrid governance mechanisms not only because they are just as important as their effectiveness, but also because they may influence it (Biermann et al., 2009). Indeed, public–private partnerships have been presented as an opportunity to improve the accountability and legitimacy of global environmental governance, as well as its effectiveness: firstly, they are seen as an opportunity to involve more stakeholders in decision-making and implementation, thus increasing ownership and empowerment, and secondly they are also promoted as tools to effectively implement solutions, for example with respect to Agenda 21 and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (United Nations, 2002). Thus, it comes as no surprise that public–private partnerships were encouraged by intergovernmental agreement at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002. However, they were also criticized as a second-best solution that governments and inter-governmental organizations encourage merely because they did not want to or could not agree on binding agreements, an opportunity for companies to green- or blue-wash their image, and a tool that continues to exclude marginalized groups rather than including them in the partnership process (on these points, see for example Hale and Mauzerall, 2004, Biermann et al., 2007b and Bäckstrand, 2006b). One area where the discussion about whether or not partnerships are able to address such issues has been most intense is the sector that prompted the greatest number of partnership initiations around the Johannesburg Summit: water. Particularly partnerships involved with the provision of drinking water are often seen as providing either challenges or opportunities for legitimate water governance. Some of the key debates in the broader discussion on global water governance focus on whether private sector involvement and community participation in partnerships can help achieve water provision that is affordable and accessible to all, but also responsive to stakeholder needs (Bakker, 2008 and Hall and Lobina, 2006). The drinking water partnerships initiated around the WSSD and registered with the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) in particular are at the core of another argument linking effective water provision to a number of other issues, highlighting that water “is not only the most basic of needs but is also at the center of sustainable development and essential for poverty eradication…Without progress on water, reaching other Millennium Development Goals will be difficult, if not impossible” (United Nations, 2002, 96-7). In other words, partnerships are seen as influencing the input and output legitimacy of water governance. These concepts, proposed by Scharpf (1999), refer to both the acceptance and justification of governance processes (input legitimacy), and its perceived problem-solving effectiveness (output legitimacy). This paper examines to what extent the drinking water partnerships initiated after the WSSD deliver on such hopes of legitimate and effective water access. Overall, the potential of public–private partnerships to contribute to these goals has been evaluated critically not only in the case of water partnerships, but also in the broader literature on partnerships. Private sector participation, for example, may lead to efficiency gains but is also often portrayed as lacking output legitimacy for potentially excluding those that cannot afford to pay for the service provided, and ignoring less profitable neighborhoods and regions (Swyngedouw, 2005a and Swyngedouw, 2005b). In the broader literature on partnerships, authors have also cautioned us to examine if, and under what conditions, private sector involvement can provide a legitimate and effective contribution to development (Kolk et al., 2008 and Mukherjee Reed and Reed, 2009). Furthermore, private sector participation is often presented as lacking accountability (as private corporations are accountable to shareholders, rather than constituencies) and less representative and participatory (Bakker, 2008). Considering these criticisms, the aim of this article is to examine the implications of private sector participation in the CSD partnerships for their legitimacy, especially as they also differ in their governance and approaches from many of the ‘traditional’ examples of public–private partnerships that the literature discusses. The concept of input legitimacy rests on the idea that recognition of governance processes is affected by their ‘fit’ with accepted democratic norms (Beisheim and Dingwerth, 2008). Thus, studies of input legitimacy examine issues such as the representation and participation of stakeholders, the exercise of democratic control through accountability and transparency, and/or discursive quality (Dingwerth, 2007, Risse, 2004 and Scharpf, 1999). Conversely, output legitimacy, or effectiveness, holds that authority can be justified on the basis of performance (Bernstein, 2005 and Scharpf, 1999). This dimension is occasionally emphasized as a source of acceptance for private and hybrid governance mechanisms, which face problems in replicating the input legitimacy mechanisms of the state (partnerships, for example, lack a clearly defined constituency to which they are democratically accountable) (Risse, 2004). The paper is structured as follows: in the next section, the relevant discussions on private sector involvement and issues such as stakeholder participation in the water sector are outlined. It identifies several aspects of input and output legitimacy that have received particular attention with respect to private sector involvement in the water sector. Firstly, with respect to output legitimacy the focus will be on contributing to the drinking water issues identified as urgent in UN documents, in particular “to halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking-water and sanitation” (Target 7.C, Millennium Development Goals). Secondly, with respect to input legitimacy, the key focus is on participation. After a short overview of the CSD water partnerships, key arguments on input and output legitimacy are examined in more detail with respect to three partnerships, using evaluations, self-reports, project descriptions and other available data available to provide more insights on their activities. The limited number of cases means that there is little room for generalizations about CSD water partnerships. However, the cases do provide an indication regarding the (lacking) convincingness of some competing claims frequently made about public–private partnerships in the water sector.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
What are the implications of private sector involvement in CSD water partnerships for their legitimacy? The ability of the private sector to provide adequate participation mechanisms for sufficient responsiveness to stakeholder concerns in water services is often viewed skeptically. Furthermore, while the potential benefits of private sector involvement for improved output legitimacy (e.g. through increased efficiency) are often mentioned, the literature also highlights drawbacks, such as possible exclusion of marginalized or poor consumers. What the examination of output legitimacy in the three partnerships indicated is that they do face some key concerns surrounding private sector participation, such as reconciling commercially viable water services with services that are affordable to all, and providing improved water access not only to the commercially most interesting (urban or high-income) areas. However, the findings also indicate that to some extent there is room to address these issues. Thus, there is potential in innovative tariff structures, income-generating activities and cost-reducing measures to contribute to water services that are affordable to poorer communities while maintaining profitability. However, these strategies also raise some concerns: relying on voluntary labor and providing services of lesser quality, to make water services affordable to poorer customers as well suggests that these partnerships may be implementing lower-quality services to still be able to access the thus far largely untapped market of urban poor water users. Countering such developments may necessitate the existence of adequate regulatory frameworks to ensure environmental responsibility, or the provision of subsidies for poorer consumers that cannot afford the service (Houghton, 2002, Mukherjee Reed and Reed, 2009 and Robbins, 2003). To what extent local authorities in the areas of implementation can provide such regulation or subsidies however remains an open question. At the same time, these lower-quality services are not necessarily implemented for the partners' own commercial benefit, as only in the case of Agua Para Todos do the actual partners collect revenues for the service, while in the case of PROASNE and WSUP, the partners retreat from the area of implementation after the technology has been installed: as one partnership pointed out, partners work on the basis of cost recovery, yet partners do not “own project infrastructure nor take responsibility for billing and collection”, as these responsibilities are transferred to the local private sector (WSUP, 2004, 4). However, marketing or market access is a motivation for the partnerships: WSUP highlighted “full access to and use of the WSUP brand in marketing materials” as one of the benefits of membership (WSUP, 2010a, 3). And, in the case of PROASNE, the partnership documents highlight that the projects were seen as an opportunity for the business partners to advertise their technologies to the local authorities, as well as testing and improving them so that they “may ultimately be brought back to Canada to benefit Canadians” (PROASNE, 2005a, 64). As this indicates, these partnerships are not necessarily privatization mechanisms. However, as has also been suggested by other partnership studies, profitability, “either directly or through reputational benefits” is an important driver for business involvement in partnerships (Kolk et al., 2008, 268). However, irrespective of the profit gained from the activities discussed in this article, several issues remain open or ambiguous, warranting further analysis. On the one hand, the findings indicated that these public–private partnerships did not choose project sites based merely on their commercial viability. However, a more detailed examination of patterns of implementation and project site selection would be necessary to clearly identify what factors play a decisive role under which circumstances. And, on the other hand, while the partnerships examined here engage in attempts to make water services more affordable, barriers to access may not only be financial. For example, for some users, water quality, reliability, location and distance to shared water stands may also be important. Such issues would also need to be examined for a more complete picture of partnership output legitimacy. Regarding input legitimacy, these partnerships reflect the emphasis placed on stakeholder involvement in the context of the Johannesburg Summit. In this sense, they appear to encourage more user participation than the literature generally expects of conventional public–private partnership types in the water sector. However, while this may encourage support from governments and donor agencies for the partnership activities (as was clearly the case with PROASNE, which included more community participation upon request from CIDA), it remains unclear how substantial representation and involvement in decision-making of local stakeholders are. Indeed, the analysis on these issues indicates that there is in all three cases a distinction between formal partners with decision-making power, local (private sector) partners with some influence and/or contracts, and local communities with which can express comments in consultations, and/or contribute voluntary labor. At the same time, the data examined in this article can only provide insights on certain facets of stakeholder participation, such as the existence of contracts or consultation sessions with partners and stakeholders. However, scholars have emphasized that rather than focusing only on issues such as who participates and in what ways, we must also examine the deliberative quality, or if any stakeholders can dominate deliberations (Dingwerth, 2007 and Dryzek and Stevenson, 2011-this issue). Thus, more empirical evidence (for example regarding the actual processes and outcomes of consultation sessions) would be needed to strengthen the observations on stakeholder participation in these partnerships. The analysis also leads to some observations regarding tensions and tradeoffs between input and output legitimacy. Firstly, there may be tradeoffs within partnerships, such as between the need for stakeholder consultations and speedy implementation, or flexible relations between partners with no contracts. Secondly, tradeoffs between partnerships are also possible, with some focusing more on output, and others more on input dimensions: recent studies have observed that public–private partnerships with significant private sector involvement may be more output-focused, while partnerships with more NGO participation are more focused on providing input legitimacy (Kaan and Liese, 2010). With respect to the water partnerships discussed in this article, the observation of partnerships with private sector involvement as output-oriented is supported by the fact that the three partnerships all implement sophisticated, medium to large-scale technologies that are suitable for reaching many users. However, fast and swift implementation of these technologies sometimes meant cutting back on aspects of input legitimacy (e.g. WSUP reducing consultation periods to focus more on implementation). This clearly contrasts with some of the CSD water partnerships with strong NGO participation but no private sector involvement (such as The Desert Rainwater Harvesting Initiative and The Global Rain Water Harvesting Collective), which implement infrastructure that is cheaper and small-scale (such as rainwater harvesting) (CSD Database, 2010 and Global Sustainability Partnerships Database [GSPD], 2008), and rely heavily on local communities to “be responsible for designing, planning, implementing, assessing and maintaining their own projects and programs” (DRHI, 2010, 1).