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E&S Home > Vol. 18, Iss. 4 > Art. 53 > Abstract Open Access Publishing 
Global Water Governance in the Context of Global and Multilevel Governance: Its Need, Form, and Challenges

Joyeeta Gupta, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam; UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education
Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Institute of Environmental Systems Research, University of Osnabrück


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To complement this Special Feature on global water governance, we focused on a generic challenge at the global level, namely, the degree to which water issues need to be dealt with in a centralized, concentrated, and hierarchical manner. We examined water ecosystem services and their impact on human well-being, the role of policies, indirect and direct drivers in influencing these services, and the administrative level(s) at which the provision of services and potential trade-offs can be dealt with. We applied a politics of scale perspective to understand motivations for defining a problem at the global or local level and show that the multilevel approach to water governance is evolving and inevitable. We argue that a centralized overarching governance system for water is unlikely and possibly undesirable; however, there is a need for a high-level think tank and leadership to develop a cosmopolitan perspective to promote sustainable water development.

Key words

global governance; multilevel governance; scale; water governance

Copyright © 2013 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087