The river basin as a new scale for water governance in transition countries? A comparative study of Mongolia and Ukraine

Dombrowsky, Ines / Nina Hagemann / Annabelle Houdret
External Publications (2014)

in: Environmental Earth Sciences 72 (12), 4705-4726


While various studies on river basin management (RBM) in industrialized and developing countries exist, limited attention has so far been paid to RBM in transition countries, i.e. countries that move from a centralized socialist system to democratic, decentralized and market-based structures. However, given that transition countries are characterized by fundamental changes in their political and economic setting, they amend themselves to the study of the role of both institutional design and contextual factors in the institutionalization of RBM. Against this background, this paper analyzes similarities and differences in the institutionalization of RBM in Mongolia and Ukraine and asks how they can be explained.
The paper finds that while the two countries are converging in terms of the model of the River Basin Organization (RBO) adopted, they differ significantly in detailed institutional design and dynamics. The differences in institutional design are likely to influence the effectiveness of RBM in both countries. The differences in design and dynamics can be understood if contextual factors such as the severity of the water problem, economic conditions, the overriding governance context and the role of various actors are taken into account. The results show that not only is the detailed design of RBOs crucial for successful implementation of RBM, but also problem pressure as well as the broader governance and economic context.

About the authors

Dombrowsky, Ines



Houdret, Annabelle

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