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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2011)

The challenges of a water system management handover in eastern Ethiopia : from the United Nations Refugee Agency to a local community

Chung, Christophe

Titre : The challenges of a water system management handover in eastern Ethiopia : from the United Nations Refugee Agency to a local community

Auteur : Chung, Christophe (Christopher J.)

Université de soutenance : Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Grade : Master in City Planning 2011

Résumé
During the height of a political crisis in the late 1980s, hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees crossed into eastern Ethiopia. A humanitarian crisis soon unfolded as water was in short supply in the arid region. In response, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) constructed the largest water system ever built by the agency, with the clear understanding that the Jerer Valley Water System (JVWS) would be passed on to a local institution. More than a decade later, with most of the refugees repatriated, the JVWS tenuously exists within the management jurisdictions of both everyone and no one-between the local, regional, and national governments and UNHCR. The thesis aims to go beyond simply identifying the shortfalls in management, but seeks to understand key underlying factors which help drive such failure. Factors include issues of geopolitics, sovereignty, dependency and space. The Ethiopian state’s right to territorial sovereignty has very significant spatial and planning implications for where refugee camps are located, how they are built and to what extent public services are shared with the local community. In the refugee camp studied in this thesis, a heavy dependence on the part of the local community has formed on the continued existence of Kebribeyah camp, as the space has become a key node of development for the surrounding community. Thus, while UNHCR attempts to pull out, its efforts are complicated by the fact that the local, regional and national governments have a deep seated interest in continued operations of the water system as it is now. A case is made for greater inclusion of local institutional capacity development in the emergency response phase (accompanied by the needed funds from international foreign aid) as a means to ensure a more timely infrastructural management handover.

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Page publiée le 6 décembre 2011, mise à jour le 11 octobre 2019