Bringing resilience-thinking into water governance : Two illustrative case studies from South Africa and Cambodia

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
Date
2022-07
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
17
Series
Global Environmental Change: Human and Policy Dimensions, Volume 75
Abstract
Resilience is a multidimensional concept that is increasingly used to understand environmental change in hydrological systems. Yet, the current discussion about water governance and resilience remains relatively limited, with resilience typically seen as a normative outcome for governance (i.e., to be resilient against change). Using a theoretical multiplicity approach, we explore how the theories of social-ecological systems (SES), resilience and interactive (water) governance can provide new insights for water governance studies. We propose a resilience-governance framework that captures the partly overlapping but distinct characteristics from these three theories. The framework aims to develop a more nuanced way of using resilience-thinking for water governance, viewing resilience as a function of three capacities (absorptive, adaptive and transformative capacity) and noting the simultaneous existence of three interpretations for resilience (as a property, process and outcome) across different scales. The framework also considers issues of power and equity, which are often missing from resilience framings. We illustrate the framework with two case studies - the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia and a small sub-catchment of the Limpopo River Basin in South Africa - to provide two distinct examples of the possibilities of resilient governance. Finally, we consider what the framework suggests more broadly for ongoing discussions around resilience and water governance, including the possibilities for governance to also 'bounce forward' - i.e., transform - to a new, improved state. We argue that resilience-thinking may be valuable in understanding governance characteristics and guiding governance processes, in addition to seeing resilience (just) as a normative end-goal. In this way, the article supports an epistemological shift away from focusing on institutional structure, towards capturing the dynamic processes within governing systems.
Description
Funding Information: The authors gratefully acknowledge the comments provided on the manuscript by L. Verbrugge, L. Ahopelto, M. Pihlajamäki, and I. Mancheva. We are grateful for C. Guillot's guidance with the figures. The descriptions of the two case studies have benefited from the authors' field visits, surveys and interviews done over the years in Cambodia and South Africa: thank you to all our collaborators for their support. Special thanks to IWMI and LSE for their financial support for enabling the primary interviews in South Africa. Finally, we thank the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful and encouraging comments, which improved the article. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s)
Keywords
Complexity, Limpopo, Mekong, Resilience, Social-ecological systems, Transformation, TONLE SAP LAKE, SOCIO-HYDROLOGY, COMPLEXITY, TRANSFORMATION, PERSPECTIVE, LIVELIHOODS, ADAPTATION, PRINCIPLES, RESISTANCE, FRAMEWORK
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Citation
Fallon , A , Jones , R W & Keskinen , M 2022 , ' Bringing resilience-thinking into water governance : Two illustrative case studies from South Africa and Cambodia ' , Global Environmental Change: Human and Policy Dimensions , vol. 75 , 102542 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2022.102542