Next Article in Journal
Hydro-Morphological Characteristics Using Flow Duration Curve, Historical Data and Remote Sensing: Effects of Land Use and Climate
Previous Article in Journal
The Optimum Monitoring Location of Pressure in Water Distribution System
Previous Article in Special Issue
Water Demand Framework and Water Development: The Case of China
Article Menu
Issue 2 (February) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Water 2019, 11(2), 308;

The Enabling Environment for Participation in Water and Sanitation: A Conceptual Framework

Stockholm International Water Institute, 10055 Stockholm, Sweden
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney 2006 NSW, Australia
The Water Institute, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health (PHE), World Health Organization, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 4 February 2019 / Accepted: 5 February 2019 / Published: 12 February 2019
Full-Text   |   PDF [936 KB, uploaded 23 February 2019]   |  


Participatory approaches are an important component of institutional frameworks for the governance of water resources and services. Studies on public participation in water management provide evidence for the outcomes of public participation and insights into the types of methods and the contexts under which participation can be meaningful. However, participatory processes are complex, and there is no single method by which to interpret, approach and implement them. This paper explores elements from the theory and practice of participation, applied to the management of water resources and water and sanitation services. Based on an in-depth literature review, we analyze the forms of participation in water and sanitation, their outcomes, as well as the contextual factors and procedural elements of participatory processes that affect their success. Contextual factors are those that are largely outside of the control of agencies or participants (e.g., demographics, history, and culture) or those that can only be influenced by management and institutional decisions in the mid- and long-term (e.g., the legal and institutional framework); while procedural elements are those over which agencies and participants have considerable control when designing and executing participatory efforts (e.g., representativeness and inclusivity, access to information, and opportunity to influence). We propose a framework that interrelates and integrates both contextual factors and procedural elements of participation. It, includes three additional aspects that are influenced by, and in turn influence, the context and the process: existing capacities for implementation of meaningful participatory processes, the resources that are allocated to them, and attitudes towards participatory processes. The framework helps conceptualize what we call the enabling environment for active, free, and meaningful participation in the delivery of water and sanitation services. By breaking down the complexities of participation, the framework supports practitioners and decision-makers to better design and implement participatory processes in water resources and water and sanitation services. View Full-Text
Keywords: participation; enabling environment; contextual factors; procedural elements; water and sanitation participation; enabling environment; contextual factors; procedural elements; water and sanitation

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Jiménez, A.; LeDeunff, H.; Giné, R.; Sjödin, J.; Cronk, R.; Murad, S.; Takane, M.; Bartram, J. The Enabling Environment for Participation in Water and Sanitation: A Conceptual Framework. Water 2019, 11, 308.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Water EISSN 2073-4441 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top