Table 2. Results of French and German case studies. Support for SL is indicated as none (0), little (+), or strong (++). SH: Stakeholders; WG WFD = Working Group for the implementation of the WFD in the International Elbe river basin district; WA = water authority.

Spatial misfit in the studied processes
Aspect of SL International level of Elbe river basin (WG WFD) (150 000 km²) Regional level of Elbe river basin: Thuringia process (4500 km²) Dordogne Valley Summit Process (25 000 km²) Dordogne water level management process (main stream of 450 km length)
Spatially complementary and strong, relatively independent institutions and actors Spatially well-adjusted institutions with competing SH with overlapping territories in hierarchical nested systems Spatially complementary and strong, relatively independent institutions with competing SH with overlapping territories in hierarchical nested systems Spatially complementary and strong, relatively independent institutions with competing SH with overlapping territories in hierarchical nested systems
1) Governance Context of SL (indicator: availability of multi-party interaction among all actors) SL: 0 SL: ++ SL: + SL: +
Available only between authorities; interaction with other SH only bilateral, at the national level. Multi-party interaction was formally established and practiced at two levels. Only at the summit meeting for all SH. Most of the process, interaction between EPIDOR and a single or few SH at the same time. Interaction was available over longer periods, but did not include all important actors.
2) Outcome (indicator: nature and implementation of outcome) SL: 0 SL: ++ SL: 0 SL: 0
Although “only” recommendations, formal adoption/ implementation high. Probably led to constraints in openness of WA to involve SH, but nature not clearly communicated to SH. Recommendations with strong pressure to be adopted from the SH and commitment from WA to follow first priorities if within legal framework of WFD. Recommendatory with low implementation Strong binding nature expected, but lack of implementation disappointed SH.
3) Social involvement—boundary management (indicator: process boundary) SL: 0 SL: (++) SL: ++ SL: from ++ to 0
International level as a means to facilitate intra-national discussion. International boundary less relevant. SH were not sure of process importance. Process boundary had the potential to be rather strong, but some SH doubted whether it would succeed there. The boundary of the process was initially defined from the temporal aspect to raise awareness of the Dordogne river basin. Strong uniqueness of the process and lack of similar alternative processes. Weakness of process: the decision-making structure was not directly involved in the Charter process. The process boundary was initially very strong. Thus, the process faltered with the increasing awareness of the role of the (non-participating) nationally responsible authority. The process boundary had to be expanded to include actors at the national level, which was only achieved by excluding other participants from the process.
4) Content management (indicator: information flow) SL: 0 SL: + SL: ++ SL: +
Information flow mainly between WA. SH felt they had not been sufficiently informed. Information flow mainly from WA to SH, but SH acknowledged the need to be informed, and appreciated it. Information flow ensured an equal knowledge base for all actors. Strong, also included external expertise. Information flow concerning the nature and limitations of negotiation outcomes was perhaps insufficient
5) Social involvement—ground rules (indicator: diversity of interaction SL: 0/+ SL: + SL: 0 SL: ++
Very low diversity in formalized meetings. Informal interaction and discussion between different actors were also established. So far very low: mainly presentations and questions. Establishment of pilot projects to improve diversity and different forms of collaboration. Limited to exchange of different SH groups with EPIDOR and a strongly formalized one-time interaction between all SH groups. Diversity of interaction was identified as positive for SL, in particular for improving relations between the hydropower company and the local fishermen.
SUMMARY CONCERNING SL No SL indicated at time of case study (2003–2004) Indicators showed SL was enabled and could be improved (see diversity of interaction and information flow). If scepticism of SH can be turned into trust in the process, it will be a major success of and for SL. The ambivalence of indicators of SL point toward limitations of SL in the process. Although the learning of different actors facilitated and mediated by EPIDOR was probably achieved, the lack of implementation indicates a lack of commitment of all SH—something that SL claims to achieve through direct multi-party interaction. SL occurred during the process, but the impact was low due to the weak nature of outcome. The process was finally halted because of this.
IMPACT OF SPATIAL MISFIT Independence of different actors, who did not ask for SL. The ICPE, as coordinating body, supported exchange through logistical and administrative support to WA. No successful activity to engage different SH in activities at the international level. The close spatial fit between the participatory and decision-making institutions was deliberately set up so that SH knew who to contact in case of a complaint. The spatial independence of SH was reduced by the activities of EPIDOR. The misfit between the river basin and the spatial areas covered by the different WA, allowed the WA to limit their engagement as they were not directly concerned. Spatial misfit between decision-making institutions and participatory institutions (i.e., the legal responsibility lies with the national level, whereas the problem was identified at the local level) hindered further SL because SH chose not to interact any longer if their responsibilities were insufficient.