Governing International Rivers

Governing International Rivers

Polycentric Politics in the Mekong and the Rhine

Tun Myint

This important book employs the theory of polycentricity, a system with several centers as an analytical concept to explain the multilayered international environmental governance of river basins. It introduces a new methodological framework to deconstruct and investigate the dynamics of citizens, states and non-state actors in world politics via the context of river basin governance.

Chapter 3: Institutional Evolution in the Mekong and the Rhine

Tun Myint

Subjects: environment, environmental law, environmental politics and policy, water, law - academic, environmental law, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy

Extract

This chapter explains institutional evolution in the Mekong and Rhine river basins with a focus on the interactions between human livelihoods and river ecosystems. By doing so, this chapter will provide a contextual background for the cases that will be analyzed in subsequent chapters. This background will also present a brief history of the evolution of the institutional landscape of the Mekong and Rhine river basins. From this institutional landscape, we will examine the case of Pak Mun Dam in the Mekong River Basin and four cases of governing water pollution in the Rhine River Basin. BIOGEOPHYSICAL SYSTEMS OF THE RHINE The Rhine River originates in the Swiss Alps where two tributaries, the Hinterrhine and the Vorderrhine, merge at the village of ReichenauTamin. From that point on, the Rhine weaves through the valleys and villages of the remarkable Swiss landscape until it reaches Lake Constance (Untersee or Bodensee). This part of the Rhine is called the Alpine Rhine. After leaving Lake Constance, the river flows westward to the city of Basel (or Basle in French), best known for its chemical industry. This part of the Rhine is known as the High Rhine. The river is wild, active and dynamic along the Alpine Rhine and High Rhine until it forms Europe’s largest waterfall, Rhinefalls, at Schloss Laufan on the border between the villages of Neuhausen and Schaffhausen. The point where the Rhine leaves Lake Constance is the beginning of what is generally referred to as the Rhine River, which flows toward...

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