In search of integration: Analyzing the gap between theory and practice of Integrated Water Resources Management with case studies from West Africa and international policy processes

Virpi Stucki

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles

    Abstract

    Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is one example of integrated approaches to natural resources management that has been widely promoted during the past decades. In this thesis, IWRM is understood as a strategic management procedure that integrates the natural resources and society (users and institutions) around a body of water. Numerous international conferences and meetings have promoted IWRM as a key approach to water management and subsequently a way to sustainable development. Yet, practical implementation of IWRM on the ground has had uneven success. The overall objectives of the thesis were to increase understanding of the high-level, strategic issues that hinder or enable the translation of IWRM from policy into practice and based on that, to distil special considerations of IWRM in Senegal River and Lake Chad, for integrated approaches, and among practitioners. This was done by examining the gap between theory and practice of IWRM with the help of case studies representing IWRM in practice (Senegal River, Lake Chad), and IWRM in theory (IWRM in international policy, climate change adaptation policies as a driver for integration). A framework was developed and used in order to systematically analyze the appearance and implementation of IWRM in the four case studies. The methods used in examining the case studies varied from a literature review and field visits, to Bayesian Causal Networks, comparative analysis and qualitative data analysis. The thesis concluded with four high-level, strategic issues that hinder or enable the translation of IWRM from policy into practice. These include i) the importance of recognizing externalities, ii) defining and understanding the "IWRM area of influence" (the confluence between theory, practice and externalities), iii) the key role of institutions and especially management and communication aspects, and the fact that iv) understanding, analyzing and managing the above is more about nouns than numbers.
    Translated title of the contributionIn search of integration : analyzing the gap between theory and practice of Integrated Water Resources Management with case studies from West Africa and international policy processes
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor's degree
    Awarding Institution
    • Aalto University
    Supervisors/Advisors
    • Varis, Olli, Supervising Professor
    • Varis, Olli, Thesis Advisor
    • de Ble, Steven, Thesis Advisor
    Publisher
    Print ISBNs978-952-60-4212-1
    Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-4213-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

    Keywords

    • IWRM
    • West Africa
    • international policy
    • institutions
    • externalities
    • area of influence

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