Investing in information, knowledge and monitoring.
Updated - Tuesday 02 June 2009
Year of publication: 2009
Winpenny, J. (2009). Investing in information, knowledge and monitoring. (World Water Assessment Programme side publication series : scientific papers). Paris, France, UNESCO. - 16 p. : 10 boxes, 1 fig., 1 tab. – 24 ref. - ISBN 9789231041136
This paper argues that not enough information about water is produced. From a social viewpoint, insufficient resources are invested in the supply and dissemination of water information. From an economic perspective, water information is undersupplied, due essentially to its characteristic as a public good. This points to the important role of public agencies (and philanthropists) in rectifying this market failure. Globally, there is an important role for international action to supply public information goods and specifically to overcome the problem of ‘underfunded regionalism’. Information aids decision-making by converting uncertainty into risk, which is more manageable. It reduces ignorance and uncertainty, which are important ingredients of market failures. It enables a better choice of infrastructure to be made. It is also the basis of water democracy, giving citizens and users more control over their lives and making public institutions more accountable for their actions. Finally, the paper refers to the new System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water (SEEAW), promoted by UN agencies, which will provide a comprehensive framework for the inclusion of water information into national income accounts.
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