Adaptive governance of contested rivers : a political journey into the uncertain
Author(s)Ashcraft, Catherine Marie
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Lawrence E. Susskind.
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Governance of international rivers is characterized by complex institutional arrangements aimed at minimizing uncertainty and making it difficult for participants to avoid their responsibilities. However, as new information emerges, new impacts of activities on rivers are identified, new stakeholders emerge and new technologies are developed, international river management agreements and treaties may have to be modified. At the very least, the implementation of the governance arrangements may need to be adjusted. Most river governance agreements are the product of extended negotiations in which the parties work hard to codify and define the details. This makes the task of modifying the agreements, or even of implementing them in new ways, difficult. In some cases the details and format of the institutional arrangements make it hard to respond to the changing nature of the social and ecological problems that emerge over time. In other cases they do not. This raises the question, "Why and how do efforts to formulate international water resource arrangements that bring together countries with common resource management concerns but conflicting interests, limit or support needed adjustments?" This dissertation explores what I call the conventional versus the adaptive approach to international river basin governance. The former makes it hard to adjust over time; the latter, less so. Climate change appears to be increasing the need for flexibility in river basin governance. So, I compare how institutional arrangements that reflect a conventional approach to uncertainty and conflict impede the ability of water governance participants to make necessary adjustments, while institutional arrangements that reflect an adaptive approach are more likely to provide the flexibility that is required. Case studies of the navigation and water protection regimes for the Danube River and the benefit sharing agreement for the Nile River provide the basis for my conclusions.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2011.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 439-468).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.