This article discussed social learning as a means to implement integrated water resources management (IWRM). Implementing IWRM requires cooperation between policy sectors, countries, government bodies, the civic sector and scientific disciplines. The social learning approach suggests several ingredients for such cooperation. The article discusses how water managers and the other stakeholders need to realise their dependence on each other for reaching their own goals, before they start interacting, sharing their problem perceptions and developing different potential solutions. It also highlights that to achieve such results, the development of mutual trust, recognition of diversity and critical self-reflection is required amongst water managers and stakeholders. However, stakeholders must take joint decisions and make the necessary arrangements for implementation. The social learning approach to IWRM had several implications for the IWRM ToolBox of the GWP. Social learning is not a magic solution for all problems, but there is sufficient evidence that it can work.
Authors: E. Mostert, M. Craps and C. Pahl-Wostl
Mostert, E., Craps, M. and Pahl-Wostl, C. (2008). Social learning: the key to integrated water resources management?. Water International, [online] 33(3), pp.293-304. Available at: