Managing change toward adaptive water management through social learning

Pahl-Wostl, C., Sendzimir, J., Jeffrey, P., Aerts, J.C.J.H., Berkamp, G., & Cross, K. (2008). Managing change toward adaptive water management through social learning. Ecology and Society 12 (2) art.30.

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The management of water resources is currently undergoing a paradigm shift toward a more integrated and participatory management style. This paper highlights the need to fully take into account the complexity of the systems to be managed and to give more attention to uncertainties. Achieving this requires adaptive management approaches that can more generally be defined as systematic strategies for improving management policies and practices by learning from the outcomes of previous management actions. This paper describes how the principles of adaptive water management might improve the conceptual and methodological base for sustainable and integrated water management in an uncertain and complex world. Critical debate is structured around four questions: (1) What types of uncertainty need to be taken into account in water management? (2) How does adaptive management account for uncertainty? (3) What are the characteristics of adaptive management regimes? (4) What is the role of social learning in managing change? Major transformation processes are needed because, in many cases, the structural requirements, e.g., adaptive institutions and a flexible technical infrastructure, for adaptive management are not available. In conclusion, we itemize a number of research needs and summarize practical recommendations based on the current state of knowledge.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: adaptive management; integrated water resources management; social learning; adaptive governance; change management; uncertainty
Research Programs: Risk and Vulnerability (RAV)
Bibliographic Reference: Ecology and Society; 12(2):30
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:40
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:20

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