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Wageningen Universiteit (2006)

Water, stakeholders and common ground : challenges for multi-stakeholder platforms in water resource management in South Africa

Simpungwe, E.

Titre : Water, stakeholders and common ground : challenges for multi-stakeholder platforms in water resource management in South Africa

Auteur : Simpungwe, E.

Université de soutenance : Wageningen Universiteit

Grade : PhD thesis 2006

Résumé partiel
There is a growing global concern about future water supplies. Growing demands from agriculture, industry and urban growth are streching available water supplies while pollution is undermining the quality of the resource base. Physical data available indicate that in South Africa, full utilisation of water resources has been reached and even exceeded in many parts of the country. Now looming is the complete depletion of the overall conventional water resources of the country, which is likely to occur in about 30 years should the efficiencies of water utilisation by different water user sectors not be dramatically improved.

Even if a state may have expertise and resources to tackle the looming water problems, a contemporary debate rooted in the neo-liberal democratic thinking argues that the state, because of the inherent shortcomings of its traditional instruments, is not able (any more) to solely solve the economic and social problems it may identify. In order to prevent unwanted developments, it is either necessary to look for alternative instruments or to lower the aspirations of central-state control. This has resulted in trying a flexible repertoire of policy responses including democratisation of resource management. It is anticipated that democratisation of resource management would increase the range of possible solutions and consequently increase social resilience by diversifying governing capabilities. In this instance, stakeholder participation has emerged as an alternative and desirable approach to natural resource management since including civil society in the process of governance logically entails the acceptance of diversity.

South Africa, like many other countries, has embraced stakeholder participation in the processes of natural resource management. The new participatory approaches however, contrast the historically simple processes of collective initiatives among more homogenous groups who shared common concerns within a familiar geographical zone. In the new resource management approaches, ’participation’ has come to include complex interaction of layers of diverse actors, who make decisions over a large variety of complex ecosystems. Stakeholders participation has brought with it varying models of institutional forms and terminologies which include Participatory Natural Resource Management (NMRM), Co-Management and (Multi)Stakeholder Platforms (MSPs) and other variants - (Multi)Stakeholder Processes, (Multi)Stakeholder Partnerships, (Multi)Stakeholder Dialogues. These new institutional forms promise a considerable shift in the manner in participatory natural resources management is undertaken.

Mots clés : water management / water policy / water supply / water quality / water resources / natural resources / floods / disasters / participation / south africa

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