SCELG Seminar Series: Deliberative governance of transboundary rivers in the Ganges-Brahmaputra problemshed; a question of water justice? (Paula Hanasz)
Monday, 26 October 2015 from 10:00 to 12:00 (GMT)
San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Strathclyde Centre for Enviornmental Law and Governance
The seminar is free but places are limited.
Light snacks will be provided.
Deliberative governance of transboundary rivers
in the Ganges-Brahmaputra problemshed;
a question of water justice?
PhD Researcher, Australian National University, Crawford School of Public Policy
The importance of governance is a recurring theme throughout the Sustainable Development Goals and the evolving global discourse around natural resource management. The idea of inclusive, discursive, or deliberative governance in particular has caught on in various international development policy documents and funding applications, including those regarding transboundary water cooperation. Deliberative governance of transboundary rivers in the Indus and Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basins is also the raison d’etre of the World Bank-led South Asia Water Initiative (SAWI). The primary task of SAWI is to facilitate workshops and roundtable dialogues between the riparians of these basins, as well as ‘Track II’ dialogue between governments and civil society actors.
The theory of change is that dialogue between actors who do not often talk to each other about water issues of mutual concern may resolve tensions, build trust, and negotiate positive-sum outcomes through regular contact facilitated by a neutral party. In practice, however, deliberative governance does not address the political context, historical grievances, or the lack of political will within the basins to act on transboundary water resource issues. Deliberative governance also does not account for the power asymmetries in the basins, especially India’s hydro-hegemony. Water cooperation, moreover, takes decades to build, especially in a region that has had water related tensions festering for generations. This cannot be undone in a series of workshops. Furthermore, the resentment from in-basin actors towards the World Bank and SAWI undermines its efficacy. Although there is an element of procedural justice in deliberative governance, distributive justice is a lesser concern. Taking a water justice, rather than a deliberative governance approach, to natural resource management may therefore be a more appropriate path for increasing transboundary water cooperation.
Paula Hanasz is completing a PhD at the Australian National University, Crawford School of Public Policy. Her thesis examines the role of international organisations in the transboundary water governance of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna problemshed. Paula is assessing the effect of third party interventions on levels of water-related conflict and cooperation between India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
Prior to starting her PhD, Paula worked as a national security and defence consultant at the Canberra-based consulting firm, Noetic Solutions. Between 2008 and 2010, Paula conducted strategic communications for the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Paula has also worked at the Australian Human Rights Commission, and holds an MScEcon Intelligence Studies from the University of Aberystwyth as well as BA Communications from the University of Technology, Sydney.
When & Where
Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance
The Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance (SCELG) is based at the University of Strathclyde Law School in Glasgow, Scotland. We strive for globally impactful research, teaching and knowledge exchange in a wide range of inter-connected areas of environmental law and governance. For more information, visit our website: http://www.strath.ac.uk/scelg/