|Title||Towards sustainable water governance : Examining water governance issues in Québec through the lens of multi-loop social learning|
|Author(s)||Medema, Wietske; Adamowski, Jan; Orr, Christopher J.; Wals, Arjen; Milot, Nicolas|
|Source||Canadian Water Resources Journal (2015). - ISSN 0701-1784 - p. 373 - 391.|
Education and Competence Studies
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
The focus of this paper is on multi-loop social learning processes required to move towards more sustainable water governance. Multi-loop social learning is recognized as a crucial element to decision-making involving a process of managing change where the central methodological concern is with effectively engaging the necessary participation of system members in contributing to the collective knowledge for more sustainable policy outcomes. A research framework that provides a deeper understanding of the conditions required for the facilitation of multi-loop social learning is developed to assess the capacity for multi-loop social learning of the Québec water governance system. This research focuses in particular on six watershed management organizations and their watershed territories. In total, 41 semi-structured interviews were conducted with staff of the watershed management organizations as well as with actors and stakeholders associated with three of the six studied watershed territories. This study shows that although the watershed management organizations have the potential to fulfill a key role in facilitating multi-loop social learning, there are still a number of challenges that will need to be addressed to achieve this potential. Limited capacity and perceived credibility of the watershed management organizations and a mismatch between provincial- and local-level discourses, as well as a limited participation of a wide diversity of actors and stakeholders across different levels and scales, are examples of conditions that hinder the facilitation of multi-loop social learning in Québec. Opportunities to overcome some of these key challenges include renewing partnerships with stakeholders that have so far not been involved by exploring innovative tools for knowledge co-production, and accelerating the transition towards a more collaborative water governance system through the development of required traits and skills of current and future change makers and leaders.