The Water Governance Ladder: assessing progress of water governance in the Blue Deal

In Phase 2 of the Blue Deal, we've initiated a new method to gauge progress in water governance: the Water Governance Ladder. It involves self-assessment by the partnerships, allowing us to identify areas of advancement and where improvements are needed.

This new method is grounded in the OECD Principles of Water Governance. It provides insights into areas requiring improvement in water governance and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). Simultaneously, it serves as a tool for partnerships to engage in discussions about existing challenges and to highlight areas of success. “An overview-generating tool,” as described by one of our partnership managers. It has also sparked meaningful discussions and insights at the partnership level.


Upon reviewing the outcomes of this initial self-assessment at the complete Blue Deal programme level, we observe the following strengths:

  • Engaging stakeholders;
  • Task allocation, and clear roles and responsibilities.

Areas for Improvement

On average, Blue Deal partnerships perform least effectively in the following 3 areas:

  • Managing trade-offs (determining priorities for funding and decision-making processes);
  • Financing water;
  • Maintenance and management.

This knowledge provides valuable input for our learning program and program-level strategy.