Approaches to participation in sustainable river management: a comparative analysis of contemporary practices in Europe and New Zealand

Claire Gregory*, Karen Fisher, Gary Brierley, Nick Clifford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Participation has been identified as a key element for efforts to manage rivers more sustainably. While repairing biophysical processes to support improved habitat quality is at the core of many management initiatives, re-connecting local people to river environments is also vital. Governance frameworks for river management have typically applied 'top down' approaches, which stifle opportunities for community involvement. Using an emerging literature of 'middle ground' frameworks for environmental management, this paper explores contemporary practices of participation within sustainable river management in New Zealand and Europe. Frameworks in New Zealand represent a 'bottom up', organic approach, while frameworks in Europe are largely guided by the European Union Water Framework Directive. This comparison illuminates the diversity of approaches which display characteristics of a 'middle ground' framework, allowing community perspectives to be considered in tandem with wider regional, national and international policy. In recognizing this diversity, it is vital that 'one size fits all' framework for governance is not imposed, if efforts are to respect the socio-ecological and political diversity of each river system. Principles are identified which maximize the strengths and opportunities which middle ground approaches offer to achieve effective participation for sustainable river management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability
Volume7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • European
  • Governance
  • Middle ground
  • Participation
  • Sustainable river management

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