Polycentric Transformation in Kenyan Water Governance?

Auklet flock, Shumagins 1986 (D. Dibenski, 2006). From: images.fws.gov


In recent decades attention to the notion of polycentric governance has rapidly grown (see for a count here). This development occured in large part due to the attention that Nobel Prize Laureate Elinor Ostrom paid to this topic. In a fascinating article in the Policy Studies Journal from 2016, four authors (Paul McCord, Jampel Dell’Angelo, Elizabeth Baldwin and Tom Evans) reflect on the meaning of this concept for current water governance debates, notably in Kenya. They write “Unlike many previous polycentricity studies, the present research focuses primarily on the outcomes of the polycentric shift and determines if these correspond to predictions from polycentricity theory. We utilize survey data collected in 2013 from water managers, as well as archival research to interrogate congruence with principles of polycentricity”. They argue that the change in the Kenyan water regime in 2002 was “a top‐down imposed polycentric reform” and offers a good opportunity to assess “whether these polycentric reforms have produced benefits predicted by polycentricity theorists, such as experimentation by local water users, increased collective action, and improved coordination between levels of management”. Curious? Please check the article here (please note that this is not open access content).

Permanent link to this article: https://www.watergovernance.eu/uncategorized/polycentric-transformation-in-kenyan-water-governance/

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