Uncertain frontiers: mapping new corporate engagement in water security

This paper surveys a broad range of activities at the frontiers of private sector engagement on water predominantly, though not exclusively, driven by MNCs in the food and beverage sector. In so doing, it endeavours to point out where these activities hold promise, in terms of making a positive contribution to water security, broadly understood, as well as where asymmetries of power and unclear motivations may jeopardise such outcomes. The paper recommends that while the MNCs can contribute to bridging three major gaps in water security – information, institutions and investment – there are necessary conditions which must be fulfilled. Namely, information must be transparent, institutions accountable, and investment geared towards equitable and sustainable outcomes.