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Policies develop strong institutions and clear frameworks

07 Aug 2017 at 17:48hrs | Views
A policy is a governing tool, a framework and it provides guidelines, and a framework for all sectors of the organisation whether it be volunteers or board members. Policies should be formed after consultation at all levels, discussion debate and shared experiences. They should be a fundamental tool of the organisation and be held in a "Policy Manual" which is available to all sectors of the organisation. Policies should not be implemented to react to a current challenge. They should be implemented proactively so that when a challenge arises, they can be referred to for guidance. The governing body, whether it be the management committee, executive, or board, should formulate policy. The body is responsible for the stewardship of the organisation and is responsible for policy formation where the Manager/ CEO/ Executive officer is responsible for the implementation of the policy. In case of whether it is a country, state institutions or any other body it must come up with clear frameworks that give guidelines on how to operate. For a country like Zimbabwe or Zambia it needs to be governed by strong rules and regulations to avoid leakages and by providing clear frameworks that can attract meaningful investments. Risks of corruption are reduced when policies, laws, guidelines, rules, rights and duties are clearly defined, implemented and enforced. Policies and legal instruments provide a framework to cope with competing demands. However, the network of instruments that govern the protection, allocation and diverse uses of water resources often reflects the fragmented state of the sector. A variety of instruments affect the sector: national laws and policies, international and regional conventions and legal frameworks, and non-binding legal instruments, such as guidelines, recommendations, principles and protocols. Moreover, customary laws exist in many countries and these may conflict with formal laws. Without participation in the formulation and implementation of elements of this framework, there is a risk that vested interests will capture the policy making process and undermine trust. Social and moral values also influence how laws are implemented and enforced. Corruption undermines belief in legitimacy: compliance levels drop if populations believe that a law or policy is unfair or there is a culture of impunity. The United Nations acknowledges the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation and calls on states to take measures to ensure their progressive achievement, through transparency in planning and implementation and active, free and meaningful participation of communities and relevant stakeholders.

International instruments include the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which focuses on bribery, embezzlement, misappropriation or diversion of property, the abuse of functions, illicit enrichment, money laundering and obstruction of justice, especially in relation to public officials. The UN has produced an Anti-Corruption Toolkit designed to be tailored to the specific needs of each country. National governments are ultimately responsible for managing river basins, protecting water resources, ensuring a fair allocation between competing users, and ensuring that citizens can access their human rights to water and sanitation services. This requires the establishment of a fair and effective system of regulation and enforcement. Enforcement can be hampered by lack of coordination between different bodies or regulations and can be undermined by improper political influence or restraints on the independence of the judiciary. Without independence and accountability, regulatory capture is a risk. Transparency, accountability and participation improve policy-making processes when they balance relationships so that participation becomes meaningful. Frameworks for good water governance need to identify all interested stakeholders to be involved in water-related decision-making processes.

Defining the Term Policy

A 'Policy' is a predetermined course of action, which is established to provide a guide toward accepted business strategies and objectives. In other words, it is a direct link between an organization's 'Vision' and their day-to-day operations. Policies identify the key activities and provide a general strategy to decision-makers on how to handle issues as they arise. This is accomplished by providing the reader with limits and a choice of alternatives that can be used to 'guide' their decision making process as they attempt to overcome problems. I like to think of 'policies' as a globe where national boundaries, oceans, mountain ranges and other major features are easily identified.

Policies Needs Procedures

The ultimate goal of every 'Procedure' is to provide the reader with a clear and easily understood plan of action required to carry out or implement a policy. A well-written procedure will also help eliminate common misunderstandings by identifying job responsibilities and establishing boundaries for the jobholders. Good procedures actually allow managers to control events in advance and prevent the organization (and employees) from making costly mistakes. You can think of a procedure as a road map where the trip details are highlighted in order to prevent a person from getting lost or 'wandering' off an acceptable path identified by the company's management team. Policies and procedures are required when there is a need for consistency in your day-to-day operational activities. Policies and procedures also provide clarity to the reader when dealing with accountability issues or activities that are of critical importance to the company, such as, health and safety, legal liabilities, regulatory requirements or issues that have serious consequences. A few 'Critical' signs that your policies and procedures need to be reviewed and updated.

Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo is the Director of Southern Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (SIPAR) which is responsible for Policy Dialogue, Analysis and Research. He is also an academic and he can be contacted at

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Source - Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo
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