1st Edition

Governing International Watercourses River Basin Organizations and the Sustainable Governance of Internationally Shared Rivers and Lakes

By Susanne Schmeier Copyright 2013
    368 Pages
    by Routledge

    364 Pages 65 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book focuses on River Basin Organizations as the key institutions for managing internationally shared water resources. This includes a comparative analysis of all River Basin Organizations worldwide and three in-depth case studies from three different continents. The detailed case studies are the Senegal (West Africa), Mekong (South-east Asia) and Danube (Europe) rivers. 

    The book contributes to the academic debate on how shared natural and environmental resources can be managed in a sustainable way and which institutional and legal mechanisms actually matter for doing so. It adopts the neo-institutionalist approach, according to which international environmental institutions do make a difference. The analysis not only confirms this argument for the specific case of shared water resources, but also refines existing hypotheses on the influence of different independent variables, namely the nature of the collective action problem, the constellation of actors and the institutional design of an international environmental institution. 

    The work also contributes to the policy debate on how to better govern internationally shared natural resources and the environment. It provides policy makers with advice on which exogenous conditions to be aware of when managing water resources they share with co-riparians and which institutional design features and governance mechanisms to set up in order to increase effectiveness in management.

    1. Introduction – Governing International Watercourses Effectively  Part 1:  2. Building a Theory of River Basin Governance Effectiveness  Part 2:  3. River Basin Organizations Around the World  Part 3:  4. The Mekong River Commission – Continuous Cooperation in Spite of Adverse Conditions  5. The Danube River Basin and the ICPDR – Strong Achievements by a Narrow Institution  6. The Senegal River Basin and the Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Sénégal (OMVS) – Benign Conditions, Deficient Effectiveness  7. Conclusion  Annexes.  References.  Index.


    Susanne Schmeier has worked with a number of River Basin Organizations, international organizations and bilateral donors in the field of transboundary river basins, among them the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Mekong River Commission. She holds a PhD from the Berlin Graduate School for Transnational Studies (BTS), a joint endeavour of the Hertie School of Governance, the Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB) and the Freie Universität Berlin.

    "Those basins, and those who care about them, will gain immensely from Dr. Schmeier’s contribution, as will the larger world desperately trying to manage our scarce natural resources effectively, efficiently, and sustainably. For her hard work and the accessible package within which it presented, we owe Dr. Schmeier a debt of gratitude." – Aaron T. Wolf, Oregon State University

    "Transboundary waters can be a catalyst for cooperation if certain enabling factors exist. Dr. Schmeier´s book is an important contribution to the ongoing scientific discussion on the management of natural resources in international river basins, with a particular focus on enabling factors for effective cooperation. It is also a unique knowledge base for practitioners responsible for elaborating, improving or implementing institutional arrangements for cooperation. Its immense value lies in the lessons learned from practical cases, presented in a structured analysis of existing River Basin Organizations as well as the brilliantly elaborated principles for good governance of RBOs, ultimately contributing to cooperative sustainable development of river basin for the benefit of all riparian countries." - Fritz Holzwarth, Former German Water and Marine Director, Former President of the Danube-, Rhine- and Elbe River Protection Commissions