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Moving down the ladder: Governance and sanitation that works for the urban poor
The widespread privatisation of basic services in the 1990s has in turn led to a redefinition of the role of an ‘instrumentalised state’, in which the traditional functions of legislation, regulation, direct provision and investment have been significantly redefined, in many cases bringing the role of the state closely aligned with the creation of new business opportunities for transnational corporations. However, neither the public nor the international private sector are filling in the gap of meeting the WATSAN needs of the urban and peri-urban poor. This desk-study contrasts a so-called ‘rationalist perspective’ dominated by the public-private controversy with an ‘empirical perspective’ concerned with gaining a better grasp of the multiple – and often neglected – practices and arrangements by which the urban poor effectively access sanitation on the ground. The study was commissioned by the International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC) with the purpose of providing a synthesis of the current debate concerned with the governance of urban sanitation for the poor and also some ‘discussion teasers’ to stimulate the debate at the IRC Symposium on Urban Sanitation held in November 2008.
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