Where can social learning be improved in international river basin management in Europe?

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Series Details Vol.18, No.4, July-August 2008, p216-227
Publication Date July 2008
ISSN 0961-0405
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Abstract: In recent years, collaborative planning and processes of social learning (SL) have gained increasingly in interest in river basin management. In this paper, we first summarize the prerequisites for SL to take place in collaborative management processes. These are openness, gains and incentives, and a perceived pressure to learn. We then study the European situation subsequent to the introduction of the European Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC; WFD) as an example. Based on an analysis of policy documents, a case study of the Elbe river basin and an elaboration of concepts related to theories of international regimes, we conclude that the conditions for SL are often not met if management processes are highly formalised. Considering SL that is necessary for innovation and change, this can best be supported through the establishment of parallel learning processes, such as the Common Implementation Strategy that accompanies implementation of the WFD at European level.

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