T09P03 - Space for Dialogue: Policy Network and Multi-level Governance of the Mekong River Basin

Topic : Governance, Policy networks and Multi-level Governance

Panel Chair : Huijuan Wu - sppwh@nus.edu.sg

Panel Second Chair : Ching Leong - ching@nus.edu.sg

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

The Mekong River traverses six countries and over 4,300 km, with diverse stakeholders holding multiple, overlapping, and sometimes competing interests, often yielding tensions and conflict over the priorities and processes of river governance.

The repercussions of various development choices on social equity and environmental sustainability have been extensively debated. Resolving these requires high capacities to assess complex problems, modes of ensuring credible commitment, and the application of broad knowledge sets. At the same time, extreme climatic conditions, and the rapid development of the Greater Mekong’s water resources are challenging existing governance structures in the region; and leading to the emergence of new governance forms.

For all that is unresolved in Mekong governance, one thing is clear: in order for decisions to be perceived as binding and legitimate, intense deliberation and negotiation is required. Current barriers to consensus have been documented, including a deficiency of productive dialogue; the marginalization of important stakeholders; and limitations to the legitimacy of agreements.

The panel will include following contents:

  1. mapping the local narratives of the river, hydropower, and developmental efforts. It confounds the dominant thinking that local populations are pro or anti-dam, and instead presents a more complex struggle, including the possibilities provided by growth and electricity.
  2. Map the local policy network, identify the major influencers and links of knowledge within the community, arguing that narratives are construction along two axis – cognition and social meaning
  3. Use an economic model for quantitative assessment of the high costs for resettlement and adaptation.

Call for papers

We would like to invite you to participate in a panel at the 2017 International Conference of Public Policy, Space for Dialogue: Mekong River Basin Policy Network and Multi-level Governance.

This panel will focus on policy network, multi-level governance and integrated water resources management of Mekong, with a special attention to the Lower Mekong Basin. It will discuss the policy network and good practices of multi-level governance in the Mekong River Basin, further explore new architectures of Mekong Governance in the context of rapid development and increasing climate uncertainty.The panel will be organized in the form of interdisciplinary presentations by both scholars and practitioners.

All manuscripts should be submitted to by email to the chairs for initial peer review by Jan 2017. Selected articles will be considered for publication in a Special Issue of International Journal of Water Resources Development on Governance in Mekong. Publication of the issue is planned for mid-2017.

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