A discursive-institutional research into the discourses on water of the policy actors in the Meuse-basin during drought-periods: With the focus on Flanders, Wallonia and the Netherlands

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2022-08-10
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en
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This master thesis conducted research into the discourses of policy actors in the Netherlands, Flanders and Wallonia along the Meuse-basin regarding waterquality- and quantity during drought-periods. The Meuse is a transboundary river which is possibly facing multiple drought-threats in the future. The aim of this research was to do a discourse-analysis of the policy actors of Wallonia, Flanders and the Netherlands and analyse if there are conflicting discourses which influence the policy agreements and social institutions that are in place in the current policy domain. Results showed that there are no conflicting discourses in which there are ontological opposite views between the policy actors of Flanders, Wallonia and the Netherlands. It is clear that all respondents which were interviewed were aware that drought is a challenge for the Meuse-basin, on water-quantity as well as water-quality. Furthermore, a positive development is that results show that international cooperation on drought, especially with the help of the International Meuse Commission, in the Meuse-basin, has evolved in the last years, following the droughts between 2017 and 2020. However, there seems to be a discursive difference which influences the institutionalisation of these discourses. Due to the societal and economic dependence on the Meuse-basin and due their downstream position, Flanders and the Netherlands experience the problem of drought more intensely than Wallonia. Results, furthermore, show that Wallonia lacks the institutional capacity to sometimes match the ambition regarding drought-related cooperation of the Netherlands and Flanders.
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Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen