Increasing Good Governance to Achieve the Objective of Integrated Water Resource Management

This project investigates the factors influencing effective coordination and cooperation in the water sector. It aims to improve steering capacities towards good governance so that practitioners and experts can better address the complex nature of water resource problems. Working closely with local actors, the project team identifies systemic challenges and develops solution strategies. A Water Governance Toolbox collects the results and makes them available to users around the world.

Project Lead:
Ines Dombrowsky

Claudia Pahl-Wostl

Project description

Managing water resources sustainably to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is a daunting task. Competing demands and rapidly changing environmental conditions pose challenges that countries worldwide are struggling to meet. Cooperation and coordination among sectors and across spatial and administrative levels are critical but often hampered by systemic challenges. This project investigates which factors influence effective cooperation and coordination, as well as their role for integrated and adaptive management. Jointly with local actors, the project team develops innovative solution strategies to increase steering capacities towards good governance in the water sector.

The project recognizes the need to find problem-specific solutions instead of applying panaceas and thus

  1. Develops and tests a diagnostic approach to analyze diverse governance and management systems
  2. Conducts an analysis of how the characteristics of these system influence the solution of complex water resource issues
  3. Investigates the influence of contextual factors (social, cultural, environmental) on effective cooperation and coordination
  4. Establishes a range of instruments that allow for a context-sensitive analysis of whether and how elements of effective governance systems and successful strategies can be transferred from one location to another
  5. Identifies solution strategies from which possible courses of action can be derived to increase steering capacities in the short, medium, and long term

The project draws on five in-depth case studies in Germany, Mongolia, South Africa, and Spain, the results of which are validated in a series of smaller studies in other countries or river basins. Involving local actors in all phases of the project ensures that its results are relevant to practitioners and water users, while simultaneously contributing to the capacity development of local participants. By combining a diagnostic approach with a comparative analysis and a toolbox, the project generates a better understanding of whether and how solution strategies can be transferred from one location to another. It supports the development of case-specific instruments that reflect local environmental and social context factors. The toolbox, along with an interactive, expandable database of case studies encourages an international learning process and exchange of experiences even beyond the scope of the project.

Researchers from the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) coordinate the in-depth case study on Mongolia, drawing on extensive experience and insights gathered in previous projects, namely MoMo – Integrated Water Resource Management in Central Asia: Model region Mongolia and IWAS – International Water Alliance Saxony. The DIE further contributes to the development of the diagnostic approach, as well as the in-depth case study on South Africa, and the validation of the project’s results in a series of smaller case studies.