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ECPR General Conference – Papers on water governance

The 6th general conference of the European Consortium for Political Research, with more than 2000 participants the biggest conference on Iceland ever, was organized at the University of Iceland, Reykjavik, 24-27th august 2011. In the panel session ‘Adaptation to Climate Change on National, Regional and Local Levels’, which was organized by Carina Keskitalu of the Umea University, Sweden, two papers on adaptation in the water sector were presented. Sissel Hovik and Jon Naustdalslid of the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional research, Marit Reitan of the Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology, Trondheim, and Tone Muthanna of the Norwegian Institute for Water Research presented the results of their research on adaptation efforts in five municipalities in the Oslo city region, and how these efforts were influenced by institutional characteristics of the water sector. The findings of the paper contradict the general picture drawn in the adaptation literature that adaptation efforts are mainly reactive, technical and internally related to the sector. More or less irrespective of variations in internal organization in the municipalities under study, the researchers found a strong call for “green” non-technical rather than technical solutions, and a perceived demand for cross-sector cooperation. The analysis reveals a sector where possible effects of climate change are well known and where a repertoire of possible proactive policy solutions is relatively well developed. More information

A second paper, which was presented by Simon Verduijn of the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands, tries to explain the success of a Dutch expert committee in influencing the political and decision agendas of the national government. In 2008 the Second State Delta Committee, which was commissioned by the Dutch Secretary of Public Works and Water Management, proposed to defend the Netherlands against the expected impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise, longer periods of drought, more intense periods of rainfall and additional land subsidence the coming two hundred years. The paper shows that, even though no actual crisis occurred, the Second Delta Committee succeeded in having the media, the public and politics, to a large extent, accept their frame and framing of the problems, causes, moral judgments and suggested remedies. It is argued that framing strategies were key to the success of the committee and that the committee used various framing strategies to convince the cabinet, citizens and others of the urgency and necessity to implement adaptation measures. The most important framing strategies identified are the adherence to the climate adaptation narrative, the use of the story of the Dutch delta identity, the creation of a sense of urgency and collectiveness, and the creation of a crisis narrative. More information

Permanent link to this article: http://www.watergovernance.eu/science-and-policy/ecpr-general-conference-papers-on-water-governance/

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