Title: “Let´s discuss what a plan is”:  Problem structuredness and cooperation in the implementation of integrated water resources management in Colombia

Date: 22 June, 12.30-13.45
Venue: Ravelijn, RA 1247
Speakers: Gustavo Valdivieso-Cervera – University of Twente – BMS STePS


For the last twenty years, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has been the default answer to problems of water scarcity and water quality around the world. Implementing IWRM, however, has shown to be harder than expected and its capacity to deliver is now in question. There are even calls, supported by context analysis, to go back to more centralized decision making, or else in the direction of independent sectoral adaptation to water challenges in several places, due to lack of progress in the implementation of these policies that require large cooperative efforts. But are these the right responses? Is it by isolating actors, again, that we can address water issues adequately? This paper presents the initial findings of research looking at the role that inter-actor problem structuredness might be playing in the implementation of IWRM policies in Colombia. For six cases that were all part of the first wave of projects implementing the country’s policy in this area, meeting minutes, project progress reports and supervisor evaluations were analyzed to triangulate their insights with those of interviews to actors involved in the project. The initial results provide grounding for a tentative claim that problem structuredness helps to explain significant variation in implementation outcomes, very likely as part of conjunctural causation that influences cooperation. These results, however, need to be completed with the detailed analysis of some of the cases in order to enhance their robustness.