Ensuring long term water security is the essential pathway towards development, prosperity, and stability in Afghanistan. However, the country is faced with water challenges that can be ascribed to governance failure at multiple levels of governance rather than to the resource base itself. Hence, studying the water governance system in Afghanistan is crucial, and assessment of the existing system is the first step. To date, there has been no systematic study to benchmark and diagnoses the strengths and weaknesses of the existing water governance system. The current study addressed this gap by analyzing and assessing water governance in Afghanistan qualitatively and quantitively at multiple levels, using the OECD water governance principles and indicators framework. The thesis answered to the following questions:
1- How can the analysis of a developing country contribute to further developing the OECD water governance indicators framework?
2- How is the performance of the Afghanistan water governance system against OECD water governance principles?
3- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Afghanistan water governance system?
The OECD water governance principles and indicators framework applied well in the Afghanistan context and provided a holistic and better analytical framework for the study.
Qualitatively using existing literature and semi-structured interviews, the OECD water governance principles well captured the strengths and weaknesses of the existing water governance system at multiple levels of governance. The analyses showed that the existing water governance system in Afghanistan is weakly functioning against all the twelve OECD water governance principles.
Similarly, quantitively using surveys, the OECD indicators framework well benchmarked the robustness of the existing governance system. The quantitative assessment also confirmed that the existing water governance system is poorly functioning against OECD principles. The system is suffering from either shortage or weak implementation and functioning of water governance frameworks, institutions, and mechanisms. Most of the indicators either do not exist or not implemented in the current water governance system. None of the 36 indicators are fully functioning.