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Framing Water Policies: A Transdisciplinary Study of Collaborative Governance; the Katari River Basin (Bolivia)

  • November 18, 2022

Afnan Agramont Akiyama, Guadalupe Peres-Cajías, Leonardo Villafuerte Philippsborn, Nora Van Cauwenbergh, Marc Craps & Ann van Griensven


Collaborative water governance deals with diverse actors under participatory systems of decision making. This form of water governance involves stakeholders with fundamentally different values and premises about water resources, as well as different understandings of the problem and how to approach it. Thus, one of the major challenges of collaborative water governance relies on the diversity of frames carried by stakeholders involved and the shift from hierarchical decision-making to a more collaborative and participative process. The fragmentation of frames can represent an obstacle, impede mutual understanding, and negatively influence decision making and policy outcomes. Based on participative observation, interviews, and document analysis, we explored the drivers behind the framing process in the multi-actor platform of the Katari River Basin, located in Bolivia. The results highlight a participatory process design favoring the fragmentation of frames and a unidirectional decision-making process, where public authority, scientific–technical expertise, and the local community’s knowledge are insulated, and communication among actors is asymmetrical. At the same time, this research reveals the influence of the political context in the framing process.

November 2022
Title of the publication: Water
Publisher: MDPI