The Politics of River Basin Organisations
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The Politics of River Basin Organisations

Coalitions, Institutional Design Choices and Consequences

Edited by Dave Huitema and Sander Meijerink

Can River Basin Organisations (RBOs) actually improve water governance? RBOs are frequently layered on top of existing governmental organisations, which are often reluctant to share their power. This, in turn, can affect their performance. The Politics of River Basin Organisations addresses this issue by exploring the subject on a global level.
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Chapter 2: Global water governance and river basin organisations

Frank Jaspers and Joyeeta Gupta

Extract

There is considerable literature on river basin organisations (RBOs) at the national and international level (Blomquist et al. 2005; Conca 2006; Hooper 2005; Zawahri 2008; Mostert 2003; UNECE 2009; OECD 2011), but very little that actually deals with a global perspective on RBOs. We argue in favour of a global analysis because although rivers are primarily fluvial in nature and not global, water problems are cumulatively severe (Vörösmarty et al. 2010), nearing planetary boundaries (Rockström et al. 2009); they affect a common global hydrological system; and are affected also by global drivers and global change (Pahl-Wostl et al. 2008). A key institution for dealing with water is the RBO. Hence, this chapter sets out to address the questions: what factors have influenced RBO design over time, and what challenges face RBOs? In order to answer these questions, this chapter reflects on the extensive literature on national and transboundary RBOs in order to generate global reflections on the issue. This chapter examines the history of the establishment of RBOs, the current discourses that influence the establishment of RBOs, and the challenges facing RBOs today.

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