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Article

Social Learning: Methods Matter but Facilitation and Supportive Context Are Key—Insights from Water Governance in Sweden

1
Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment, University of Gothenburg, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden
2
Skagerrak and Kattegat Water District Authority, 403 40 Gothenburg, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Kevin Collins
Water 2021, 13(17), 2335; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13172335
Received: 19 June 2021 / Revised: 16 August 2021 / Accepted: 19 August 2021 / Published: 26 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Learning for Sustainable Water Resource Management)
This paper analyses and discusses how and to what extent social learning (SL), as a means to address complex adaptive problems in water governance, can be enabled in local and regional multi-stakeholder collaborations. Using a multi-method, qualitative, collaborative, and self-reflective case study design, the conditions, challenges, and enablers for SL were studied, comparing three complementary cases of voluntary multi-actor platforms (water councils) to improve water quality in West Sweden. These councils were established to foster the implementation of the Water Frame Directive and—on a voluntary basis without a formal decision mandate or responsibility—to implement measures or act. Using participant observation, evaluation workshops, and a survey, the methods employed by the councils, which were founded on trust-based approaches, were assessed based on how they contributed to trust and social learning. Observed outcomes included an increased number of participants, sub-projects, local water groups, and measures. Respondents mentioned better dialogue, higher commitment, and broader knowledge as positive outcomes. Based on this, we conclude that there is a need for neutral spaces for meetings led by process facilitators, enabling cross-sectorial and cross-level exchanges, a process which is not common in Swedish water management. View Full-Text
Keywords: collaboration; collaborative governance; facilitation; participation; participatory methods; reflective; social learning; Sweden; water management; natural resource management collaboration; collaborative governance; facilitation; participation; participatory methods; reflective; social learning; Sweden; water management; natural resource management
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MDPI and ACS Style

Prutzer, M.; Morf, A.; Nolbrant, P. Social Learning: Methods Matter but Facilitation and Supportive Context Are Key—Insights from Water Governance in Sweden. Water 2021, 13, 2335. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13172335

AMA Style

Prutzer M, Morf A, Nolbrant P. Social Learning: Methods Matter but Facilitation and Supportive Context Are Key—Insights from Water Governance in Sweden. Water. 2021; 13(17):2335. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13172335

Chicago/Turabian Style

Prutzer, Madeleine, Andrea Morf, and Peter Nolbrant. 2021. "Social Learning: Methods Matter but Facilitation and Supportive Context Are Key—Insights from Water Governance in Sweden" Water 13, no. 17: 2335. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13172335

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