Social learning: the key to integrated water resources management?

  • Mostert E
  • Craps M
  • Pahl-Wostl C
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This article discusses social learning as a means to implement integrated water resources management (IWRM). Implementing IWRM requires cooperation between policy sectors, countries, government bodies, the civic sector and scientific disciplines. The social learning approach suggests several ingredients for such cooperation. First, water managers and the other stakeholders need to realize their dependence on each other. Second, they need to start interacting, share their problem perceptions and develop different potential solutions. This requires the development of mutual trust, recognition of diversity and critical self-reflection. Finally, the stakeholders need to make joint decisions and arrangements for implementation. Often, an external facilitator can be helpful. The social learning approach to IWRM has several implications for the IWRM ToolBox of the GWP. Social learning is not a magic solution for all problems, but there is sufficient evidence that it can work.

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  • Erik Mostert

  • M Craps

  • Claudia Pahl-Wostl

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