Strategically, the CWP-Benin decided in 2009 to make integrity a major issue in the water sector through program and project interventions as well as in sector practices. It targeted the following areas of action: developing knowledge of integrity risks, strengthening national and local capacities in terms of integrity, and setting up an alert and integrity promotion mechanism. This last axis, a pillar of the interventions, led to the development of a charter for governance. The aim was to have a mechanism that would influence accountability practices. To implement this charter, CWP-Benin chose to raise awareness of the concept of integrity and its principles through information and training activities as well as by questioning weaknesses in governance during sector meetings. These interventions were coordinated by CWP-Benin on the basis of consultations with stakeholder representatives, after the participation of a Beninese delegation composed of stakeholders (administration, NGOs, CSOs, private sector) in a regional training on integrity organized by WIN in 2013.
The process of developing the charter was facilitated by CWP-Benin and funded by WIN as part of the multiyear program to promote integrity in the water sector. CWP-Benin initiated and facilitated this process thanks to its experience and the responsibilities it was entrusted with: chairing the Consultation Framework for Non-State Actors in the Water and Sanitation Sector (CANEA), conducting advocacy actions involving all categories of actors, successfully coordinating national initiatives in collaboration with the Ministry of Water (drafting the Benin Blue Book in 2009, national multi-stakeholder consultation in preparation for the 6th World Water Forum 2012, etc.) and alliances with CSOs (Front of National Anti-Corruption Organizations, National Authority for the Fight against Corruption and Association for the Fight against Racism, Ethnocentrism and Regionalism). CWP-Benin has been co-leading a national coalition on integrity since 2009. In its advocacy efforts with the authorities and donors for their adherence to the charter, CWP-Benin has benefited from the support of GWP-WA with the participation of its Chair in the audience granted by the Minister of Water in 2016, in the presence of the representative of WIN.
The charter for the governance of the water and sanitation sector in Benin, an eleven-page document, details the fundamental values that govern the management of the sector, including equity, a high sense of responsibility, integrity and justice. Through this charter, the different categories of actors commit themselves, according to their respective levels of responsibility, to ensure a rational and equitable distribution of water access infrastructures and sanitation facilities, to encourage community participation in planning and monitoring, and to systematize accountability, as well as to clean up the management system for public contracts and the delegation of public
services in the water and sanitation sector.
The key outcomes of the governance and integrity initiative are :
- the existence of a charter for governance recognized by the actors and now used as a tool for dialogue on integrity at national and local levels;
- the existence of a mechanism for operationalizing the charter, recognized and accepted by all categories of actors;
- awareness of possible solutions or actions to address governance problems by the actors who participated in the development of the charter;
- the formulation, through the charter, of commitments made by the categories of actors for better governance;
- the strengthening of the consideration of integrity by GIZ and the Dutch Embassy in projects/programs and interventions in the water and sanitation sector.