Special Issue "Social Learning for Sustainable Water Resource Management"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021).
Interests: environmental governance; water resource management; social learning; systems thinking and practice
Social learning for sustainable water resource management has been part of literature and practice for over 15 years, and much longer in other guises and as part of other discourses.
In a climate changing world, the new decade will see even greater pressures on water and on its governance arrangements. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Anthropocene and Climate Emergency declarations and global movements such as Extinction Rebellion and climate bring new environmental, social and political agendas. Combined, these elements bring into focus the complexity and scope of the socio-ecological issues facing individuals, organisations and communities in relation to sustainable water resource management.
This systemic complexity means that no single organisation or individual can lay claim to defining the nature of water situations or managing them strategically (governance) or operationally (management). Instead, these responsibilities lie with many different people and frequently rely on multi-actor negotiation and co-operation.
Existing policy, approaches and methods of water resource management and governance are, by themselves, no longer reliable pathways in a rapidly changing context. Adaptation requires that we learn to reframe situations and issues and develop and navigate new pathways in order to insitutionalise these learnings and build them into systemic water governance systems.
While the collective nature of water management has become more evident, the mechanisms to support collective action are still contested. It is in this context that social learning—understood as a process for developing collective insights and actions into complex situations leading to concerted action to transform water resource management—has become more urgent and essential.
However, social learning is not a panacea or a pre-defined approach that can be simply ‘added-in’ to a situation. Learning is always contextual and open-ended. The design, use and outcomes of social learning processes require new ways of thinking and practice that go beyond stakeholder participation.
This Special Issue is an opportunity for authors to offer new, critical insights into how social learning approaches to sustainable water resource management have developed and evolved in practice in a variety of settings, contexts and scales. It also provides a key opportunity to establish the contribution social learning approaches can make to transforming the water resource management practices needed for this critical decade. In this Special Issue, we aim to include papers that:
- Identify the future of social learning approaches to achieving SDGs and wider water governance imperatives relating to climate change adaptation;
- Review existing arenas of practice relating to social learning approaches for sustainable water management to assess the governance implications of the different theoretical and methodological approaches;
- Develop practical insights into the design and methodologies of social learning processes;
- Critically review progress and achievements of social learning approaches in transforming water resource management to date;
- Identify key factors in the success and failures;
- Contribute to a practice-informed literature on social learning for water resource management;
- Explore conceptual elements of social learning in relation to systems thinking and practice.
The scope of the Special Issue is international and inter-disciplinary. Papers detailing experiences of designing and enacting social learning processes in water resource management and governance and critical reviews of the processes and governance outcomes are particularly welcome. Contributions to the conceptual aspects of social learning and the methodological implications for practitioners are also encouraged, especially when based on case studies or similar practice-related experience and evidence. For this Special Issue, we are also keen to include papers that set out a future for social learning as a more systemic approach and respond to sustainable water resource management in a climate changing world.
Dr. Kevin Collins
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
- social learning
- sustainable water resource management and governance
- climate change
- systems thinking and practice