Sociologist Sarah Botton is leading a research program on public action, stakeholders who shape public policy and how they go about doing so.

She studies policy trajectories and issues related to sectoral governance. She seeks to answer the question, “how do the organizational arrangements of certain sectors—particularly water and sanitation—enable them to meet the key challenges of sustainability and access to basic services?”.

Over the course of her career, Sarah Botton has studied the water sector and its application at different levels. 
For the Technologies, Territories and Societies Laboratory (LATT, Université Paris-Est), Saharh Botton completed her doctoral thesis on the privatization of urban services and its effects on poverty in Buenos Aires. She then focused on the impact of water privatization on the most disadvantaged groups and on public-private partnerships (PPP) in Argentina, Bolivia, and Morocco. Sarah Botton also studied small public service outsourcing projects delegated to informal operators in Southeast Asia and Africa. She led this research in partnership with various academic, institutional, and private stakeholders and associations: Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), CNRS, École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC), École Nationale du Génie Rural, des Eaux et des Forêts (ENGREF), UNESCO, AFD, Suez, EDF, Institut du Développement Durable et des Relations Internationales (IDDRI), and GRET.

Sarah Botton joined AFD in 2009, where she first led training programs on urban services before joining the research department in the Governance, Commons, Territories Division, where she now continues her research activities.

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