Rethinking the Politics of Transboundary Water Management: The Case of the Zambezi River Basin

International Journal of Water Governance, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 1-12 (2015)

12 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2015

See all articles by Fredrik Söderbaum

Fredrik Söderbaum

University of Gothenburg, School of Global Studies; United Nations University, Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

Date Written: April 1, 2015

Abstract

This article challenges the prevailing ‘problem-solving’ discourse around transboundary water management, according to which river basins are largely taken as a ‘given’ ecological spaces and where the main challenge is to find environmentally sustainable ‘solutions’ to a number of specific ‘problems’ through rational, functional-technocratic or even scientific policies and institutions. Without rejecting the normative attractiveness of ecologically sustainable and basin-wide approaches, this article pays particular attention to the continued relevance of politics, power and national sovereignty. Such political perspective gives rise to a number of general but often overlooked policy issues, two of which are focused upon in this article. The first is the challenge to reconcile national benefits and interests with the common good and basin-wide approaches. The second is related to whether transboundary waters are best governed through specialized and functional river basin organizations (RBOs) or through more multipurpose regional organizations that have a more distinct political leverage?

Keywords: transboundary water management, river basin organization, regional organizations, Zambezi, Southern Africa

Suggested Citation

Söderbaum, Fredrik, Rethinking the Politics of Transboundary Water Management: The Case of the Zambezi River Basin (April 1, 2015). International Journal of Water Governance, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 1-12 (2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2678955

Fredrik Söderbaum (Contact Author)

University of Gothenburg, School of Global Studies ( email )

POB 700
Gothenburg, SE 40530
Sweden
+46-317864340 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.globalstudies.gu.se/english/about-us/staff?languageId=100001&userId=xsodfr

United Nations University, Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS) ( email )

Bruges
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.cris.unu.edu/Dr-Fredrik-Soederbaum.54.0.html

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