Towards Collaborative Water Governance Transformations

Towards Collaborative Water Governance Transformations

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This project highlights how a complexity thinking approach can inform a rethink of traditional governance and management theories by exploring how corporate actors engage with a variety of stakeholders and public and private partnerships to work at different levels of analysis to make and sustain shared commitments to an endangered commons. Vested interests modify interpretations of the sustainability concept to serve a variety of agendas that do not necessarily have the well-being of the planet’s ecosystems or that of the people in the developing world or future generations at their core. When applying the characteristics of complex systems to governance strategies, we see that control and demand strategies are inappropriate ways of engaging with complexity. Adequate governance strategies should provide mechanisms to navigate the emergent, adaptive and non-linear nature of complex phenomena in social-ecological systems.

The project investigates how corporate actors in Stellenbosch, Western Cape can broaden their understanding of what constitutes governance and when, why and especially how they progressively and cooperatively reclaim governance responsibility and authority beyond the current corporate boundary and jurisdiction. Through participant action research the project explores how multiple actors can collaborate in new ways to start stewardship initiatives for sustainable water governance interventions.

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