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How Multilevel Societal Learning Processes Facilitate Transformative Change: A Comparative Case Study Analysis on Flood Management

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Pahl-Wostl, Claudia; Becker, Gert; Knieper, Christian; Sendzimir, Jan
Journal: Ecology and Society
Volume: 18
Date: 2013
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9216
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Europe
Subject(s): comparative analysis
Rhine River
adaptive systems
flood management
water management
Abstract: "Sustainable resources management requires a major transformation of existing resource governance and management systems. These have evolved over a long time under an unsustainable management paradigm, e.g., the transformation from the traditionally prevailing technocratic flood protection toward the holistic integrated flood management approach. We analyzed such transformative changes using three case studies in Europe with a long history of severe flooding: the Hungarian Tisza and the German and Dutch Rhine. A framework based on societal learning and on an evolutionary understanding of societal change was applied to identify drivers and barriers for change. Results confirmed the importance of informal learning and actor networks and their connection to formal policy processes. Enhancing a society’s capacity to adapt is a long-term process that evolves over decades, and in this case, was punctuated by disastrous flood events that promoted windows of opportunity for change."

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