Governance in general, and governance of ecological systems specifically, is deeply contentious and challenging in a Southern African context. Failures of governance through state capture, financial mismanagement and weak implementation of policy, dominates the discourse on governance in the region. This exacerbates and in some cases drives, social and ecological crises. In this context, there is a lot of crucial research and thinking being undertaken to build and strengthen good governance.
In South Africa, a deeply progressive legislative framework for participatory water governance includes provision for integrated water resource management (IWRM) in the form of catchment management agencies and catchment management forums, the regular publishing of a National Water Resources Strategy informed by broad stakeholder engagement, protection of freshwater resources through the Ecological Reserve, equitable water access through Free Basic Water, publishing of Blue and Green Drop reports to ensure municipal compliance, and many other mechanisms. Similarly, sustainable land resource management and environmental protection is also well provisioned for in legislation. Unfortunately, implementation of this positive legislation remains very weak. Many researchers and civil society activists are working to understand and ultimately counter-balance these failures of governance.
Pahl-Wostl, C. (2015). Water Governance in the Face of Global Change. In From Understanding to Transformation. Springer.
Herrfahrdt-Pähle, E. (2010). South African water governance between administrative and hydrological boundaries. Climate and Development, 2(2), 111-127.
Young, O. R. (2013). Sugaring off: enduring insights from long-term research on environmental governance. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 13(1), 87-105.
Ingram, H. (2011). 12 Beyond universal remedies for good water governance. Water for food in a changing world, 241.
Armitage, D. (2008). Governance and the commons in a multi-level world. International Journal of the Commons, 2(1), 7-32.
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