Return of the Research Question…

Since my last iteration of the research question, there has been an important shift in focus. For the last year i’ve held the focus on the urban/city. But, this focus on urban water needs and how they are reflected in transboundary water governance processes was limiting my possible case study selection needlessly. Instead, OMB suggested I  broaden out my focus to look at ‘local actors’. In this way, I am more free to define a local actor depending on the basin I look at. For instance, if I study the Columbia basin, the local actor may be very different than if I look at the Stikine or the Orange. Irrespective, it is the influence of a local actor on governance processes that I am most interested in.

So, considering the importance of including local actors in governance processes, I will explore the following overarching questions:

are local actors influencing and shaping transboundary water governance processes? If so, in what way is this occurring? And, how can we come to understand the influence and role of local actors in transboundary water governance processes?

In addressing these questions, the study will achieve the following objectives:

1) examine whether existing evidence indicates that local actors are engaging as formal/informal actors in transboundary water governance in a range of watersheds, and if so,
2) understand the range and scope of activities that local actors undertake to attempt to have influence (if any) on institutions and processes designed to govern an international river,
3) understand the perceptions local actors have about their influence on governance processes (do local actors perceive their influence to be effective),
4) explore how the engagement of local actors in water governance contributes to re-conceptualizing decision-making processes in border regions,
5) articulate how the cases present insight into relevant policy development for transboundary water governance and the role of local actors.

The purpose of this project is to better understand these dynamics and the role local actors play in and exhibit influence on governance of transboundary water resources.

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