STEER Stakeholder Workshop

On 3 September, DIE researchers organised an online workshop with stakeholders from the STEER project. In line with the key objective of the project, participants discussed how coordination problems between different water-using sectors can be solved in order to improve water governance processes and outcomes. Participants comprised academics, practitioners and political decision-makers from different administrative levels and originated from Germany, Iran, Mongolia, and South Africa. In these countries and in Spain, in-depth case studies were conducted in the framework of STEER. After a brief discussion of overall project results, STEER researchers introduced the Governance Tool, an online platform which provides an analysis of coordination problems and suggests context-sensitive solution strategies, based on data collected in the project. Subsequently, participants split into breakout groups to discuss innovative coordination strategies that they were familiar with from their own work, as well as strategies to overcome implementation deficits and resource constraints. In particular the notion of a “virtual state” garnered a lot of attention as a way to deal with both resource limitations and implementation gaps. It describes a process where community members are first trained to experience themselves as agents within a (water-) governance system and then take over functions such as monitoring or planning and implementing measures that formal agencies are incapable of fulfilling. A final panel summarised the workshop insights, emphasizing in particular the importance of reliable information and of trust between different societal groups for effective and equitable water governance.