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Dore J.,Australian Agency for International Development AusAID | Lebel L.,Chiang Mai University | Molle F.,Institute Of Recherche Pour Le Developpement Ird
Journal of Hydrology | Year: 2012

In this paper we present a framework for analysing transboundary water governance complexes, illustrated in the Mekong Region. In this region, the sharing of waters between countries adds a critical dimension to decision making about producing food and energy, maintaining vital ecosystems, and sustaining livelihoods. Hydropower, dams, diversions, expanding cities and irrigation schemes are all in the mix. The key elements of the framework are: context, drivers, arenas, tools, decisions and impacts. The use of deliberation, technical and advocacy tools is explored and normative governance improvements are suggested. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Moore D.,World Commission on Dams | Dore J.,Australian Agency for International Development AusAID | Gyawali D.,Nepal Water Conservation Foundation
Water Alternatives | Year: 2010

The World Commission on Dams (WCD) was an experiment in multi-stakeholder dialogue and global governance concerned with a subject area - large dams - that was fraught with conflict and controversy. The WCD Report, Dams and Development: A New Framework for Decision-Making, was published in 2000 and accompanied by hopes that broad-based agreements would be forged on how to better manage water and energy development. Ten years later, this special issue of Water Alternatives revisits the WCD and its impacts, exploring the question: Is the WCD still relevant? The editorial team and the Guest Editors of this special issue of Water Alternatives have selected a range of 20 papers, 6 viewpoints, and 4 book reviews that help to illustrate the evolution in the dams debate. The goal of this special issue is to examine the influence and the impacts of the WCD on the dam enterprise, in general, and on the policies and practices of key stakeholders and institutions, and on the development outcomes for affected communities and environments, in particular. In this introduction, the Guest Editors provide an overview of the special issue, exploring the new drivers of dam development that have emerged during the last decade, including climate change and new financiers of dams, and describing the themes emerging from this diverse set of papers and viewpoints. This special issue demonstrates the need for a renewed multi-stakeholder dialogue at multiple levels. This would not be a redo of the WCD, but rather a rekindling and redesigning of processes and forums where mutual understanding, information-sharing, and norm-setting can occur. One of the most promising developments of the last decade is the further demonstration, in case studies described here, that true partnership amongst key stakeholders can produce transformative resource-sharing agreements, showing that many of the WCD recommendations around negotiated decision making are working in practice. We hope that this special issue sparks a dialogue to recommit ourselves to finding effective, just, and lasting solutions for water, energy and ecosystem management. It is a testament to the continued relevance of the WCD Report that ten years later it is still a topic of intense interest and debate, as illustrated by the papers presented in this special issue.

Grumbine R.E.,CAS Kunming Institute of Botany | Grumbine R.E.,Prescott College | Dore J.,Australian Agency for International Development AusAID | Xu J.,World Agroforestry Center | Xu J.,CAS Kunming Institute of Botany
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment | Year: 2012

The Mekong River is the longest watercourse in Southeast Asia. Although China has an extensive hydropower program underway on the Upper Mekong, as yet there are no dams on the river's lower mainstream. However, as many as 12 additional projects, which would generate substantial energy and wealth especially for Cambodia and Laos, are currently in the proposal stage for the Lower Mekong (LM). The cumulative effects of the LM hydropower projects - if built, and together with existing Chinese dams - will transform the Mekong by altering natural flow patterns and disrupting fisheries and other ecosystem services, to the detriment of the millions of people who depend on the river for their livelihoods. Proposals for new dam construction are driven by several factors, including changing human demographics and development needs, energy and food security concerns, economic cooperation, and climate change. We link these social, ecological, economic, and political forces to ongoing regional governance issues and discuss how to improve the quality of Mekong hydropower decision making in a complex, transboundary setting. © The Ecological Society of America.

Dore J.,Australian Agency for International Development AusAID | Lebel L.,Chiang Mai University
Water Alternatives | Year: 2010

Gaining Public Acceptance (GPA) was a strategic priority recommended in the final report of the World Commission on Dams (WCD). GPA remains a central, thorny challenge for all parties interested in how society makes decisions about the development of water resources, the provision of energy, and the maintenance of ecosystems, whilst striving for social justice. The WCD's GPA is largely about issues of procedural justice (e.g. inclusion and access) and proposes process-related principles. Distributional justice is also important (e.g. equitable sharing of benefits; and, avoiding unfair and involuntary risk-bearing). Several key lessons are emerging from past initiatives to gain public acceptance through participatory exercises. Differences in development and sustainability orientations are obvious in debates on dams and need to be explicitly considered and not glossed over. Politics and power imbalances pervade participatory processes, and require much more attention than they receive. Ultimately, the accountability and legitimacy of state and non-state actors are crucial but complex as there are many ways to build public trust. To earn legitimacy and more likely acceptance of important public decisions we suggest a comprehensive set of 'gold standard' state-society attributes for improving governance. Multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) can help deliberation to become routine, enabling complex water issues to be more rigorously examined. The combination of increased public trust, earned by the state, and high-quality MSPs to assist more informed negotiations, we see as being key to the gaining of public acceptance.

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