The first governance learning event
On Tuesday 4th June 2013 the first CADWAGO governance learning event was held in Sweden at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences on the Ultuna campus on. This was the first of three learning events of relevance to water governance, policy and practice in public, private and civic spheres.
In total approximately 10 invited participants from across Europe with mutual interests in water policy, governance and climate change adaptation welcomed the opportunity to join this co-learning process. The participants came from Sweden, Italy and the UK. All participants had already engaged with some of the issues of how to make improvements in water governance. The issues that they were working on included mosquito management problems related to flooding, drinking water problems, the management of water quality in a lake and the Water Framework Directive. The invited participants engaged in a co-learning process with the 15 academics working on the CADWAGO project in Sweden, UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia and Canada.
This first governance learning event focussed on water policy and governance trajectories (past, present and future) under conditions of climate change. We started with a general introduction to the CADWAGO project by Neil Powell, the project leader of the CADWAGO project. He explained the background to the CADWAGO project and the way the project tries to investigate the dilemma’s related to climate change.
After this session 1 focussed on exploring ‘the past’. In this session we explored our contexts, prior experiences and the events that were relevant to us in relation to this. We started out with a short ‘speed dating’ exercise in which we met three people with whom we exchanged our areas of interest. This was followed by a ‘Carousel’ in which we discussed the CADWAGO project on the basis of posters that had been put up in various corners of the room. One group of posters tried to explain the general structure of the CADWAGO project, its various work packages and their analytical view. The other posters introduced the cases that will be investigated within the project. This Carousel was not only helpful for getting to know the project but also sparked off interesting discussions between the CADWAGO researchers and the workshop participants. The last part of Session 1 consisted out of a conversation mapping exercise. In this exercise we split up in several sub groups in which we tried to map our roles, interests, hopes and expectations in relation to the CADWAGO project. Again this lead to interesting discussions on all sorts of things and allowed for an exchange of views and opinions between the CADWAGO researchers and the workshop participants.
After the lunch we came back to discuss the present situation in Session 2. During this session all workshop participants presented something of the projects that they were working on. This series of presentations reflected various inspirational examples of currently emerging narratives of contemporary issues and situations of relevance to water policy, governance and climate adaptation across Europe. The discussion focussed, among others, on how to create processes of change, the difference between being response able versus responsibility, the tension between technological innovation and process innovation and the importance of local ownership of problem definitions.
Last but not least the third session of the day focussed on the future. In this session we explored the co-creation of new trajectories for water policy and governance. All work package leaders gave a short overview of some of the issues that they were struggling with and that they wanted some feedback on by the workshop participants. We ended the day with a critical review of CADWAGO’s plans and future opportunities for co-learning.
All in all the governance learning event was an inspiring day both for the academic researchers and the workshop participants. The quality and the quantity of the conversations was beyond the expectations of most. We are looking forward to continuing this co-learning process between CADWAGO researchers and practitioners from across Europe with mutual interests in water policy, governance and climate change adaptation.