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Water and the Challenges of Development Antonio A. R. Ioris Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability University of Aberdeen.

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Presentation on theme: "Water and the Challenges of Development Antonio A. R. Ioris Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability University of Aberdeen."— Presentation transcript:

1 Water and the Challenges of Development Antonio A. R. Ioris Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability University of Aberdeen

2 Water is both a need and a right ! Universal public water services and the conservation of aquatic systems are some of the most challenging requirements of sustainable development The management of water encapsulates past legacies, institutional barriers, socioeconomic opportunities and political disputes Responses to collective water problems have to consider the specific local context (i.e. knowledge, culture, resources, networks) and have to promote the democratic engagement of stakeholders in the assessments and solutions

3 Evolution of water development Traditional water uses and local urban-industrial schemes (until early 20 th century) The hydraulic paradigm: state-led, large infra- structure works (mid-20 th century) Water governance (since the 1970s), predicated upon: Integrated management The catchment approach The economic value of water Stakeholder involvement Dealing with complexity and non-linearities

4 However, the agenda of water governance has had many shortcomings… Superficial nature of most of the ongoing reforms and the persistence of established practices Difficulty to move from theory to practice (i.e. address uncertainty, risks, multiple scales, multiple dimensions, different discourses and perceptions, etc.) Water governance reflects political and ideological priorities (i.e. follows hegemonic influences and serves certain interests more than others)

5 The politicised face of water development is (too) often missed Vulnerability, participation, scarcity and abundance are all contested concepts Social institutions (laws, customs, practices, etc.) are central to both stability and adaptation Resistance to institutional change is embedded in social, economic and political systems that govern the distribution of expertise and access to resources Overall, water development and environmental conservation remain contested processes that require creative, innovative responses

6 Dr. Antonio A. R. Ioris Lecturer in Geography School of Geosciences Elphinstone Road, Aberdeen, AB24 3UF Phone +44 (0)


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