STEER aims to identify approaches to improve good governance related to complex water resource problems and systemic challenges. The project focuses in particular on conflicts of use around water resources and the conditions that promote improved coordination and cooperation between relevant actors. STEER aims to develop a diagnostic water governance toolbox. The geographical focus of research is on five in-depth case studies in Germany, South Africa, Mongolia and Spain as well as up to 15 other case studies that allow the results to be validated. Methodologically, the project is based on qualitative comparative case studies, in which the influencing factors on coordination and cooperation will be studied in-depth.
Foci of Activity
Governance and management systems
Investigate the impact of governance and management system characteristics on solving complex water resource problems
Consider the impact of societal and environmental conditions as a basis for the transferability of elements of effective governance systems
Coordination and cooperation
Development of innovative forms of coordination and cooperation that contribute to the resolution of water conflicts
Work Packages and Project Structure
The activities of STEER will be structured in six work packages (WPs).
The six work packages include the following activities.
WP 1: Development of the diagnostic approach
Based on existing diagnostic approaches, the various steps in the process will be determined taking into account the latest developments in the scientific literature and suggestions of the practice partners. In co-design with stakeholders from in-depth case studies, the approach, the foci and steps of the problem analysis, the indicators for assessing the effectiveness of water management and its determining factors, as well as the requirements for solution approaches and the toolbox will be discussed. To this end, a co-design workshop with stakeholders will be held in each of the five in-depth case studies.
WP 2: Analysis of the governance and management systems at several levels in in-depth case studies
Based on the analysis protocols from WP 1, AP2 deals with a “fact-based” standardised empirical collection and analysis of the various elements (governance and management system, context, goal achievement) in the in-depth case studies. For example, the legal framework, cross-sectoral forms of cooperation, and the effectiveness of existing instruments for coordination will be examined, and their interplay will compared across the in-depth case studies. These “fact-based” results will be combined with data from interviews and workshops (WP 3) in order to elaborate a catalogue of decisive influencing factors for increasing good governance. These influencing factors are to be validated in AP4.
WP 3: Participatory assessment of coordination gaps and solution approaches in in-depth case studies
The aim of WP 3 is to assess stakeholders’ perceptions of problems and solution approaches to combine these perceptions with the “fact-based” analysis (WP 2). The main focus is on the application of participatory and practice-oriented methods of data collection and verification, as well as on expert and stakeholder interviews. Furthermore, the work package will elaborate relationships between context-specific influencing factors (for example, interaction forms of the actors of a water management system) and the solution strategies that turn out to be possible (or realistic).
WP 4: Validation of results from in-depth case studies
In WP 4, data from further approximately 15 case studies will be evaluated using fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA). This allows the identification of factors and their combinations, which are sufficient or necessary to explain a phenomenon, in particular the achievement of water management goals. The validation case studies should have as many combinations as possible in the manifestations of the features identified as relevant in WP 2 and WP 3 in order to cover a high number of theoretically possible configurations in the fsQCA analysis.
WP 5: Development of a diagnostic water governance toolbox
In WP 5, a toolbox will be developed to operationalize the diagnostic approach and make the results useful for practice and comparable analyses of other transdisciplinary projects. The toolbox will contain both diagnostic and solution-oriented tools, with their interconnections explicitly made clear. WP 5 also includes the preparation of a guideline for a step-by-step approach to the collection of indicators as well as the identification of governance and coordination deficits in water management and their determinants and possible solution strategies. The results of the five in-depth and approximately 15 validation case studies will also be made available in an extensible database.
WP 6: Project coordination and project management
WP 6 encompasses internal communication as well as coordination with national and international networks, as well as the development and implementation of the dissemination strategy, in which close cooperation is sought with the networking project of the funding measure GROW.