Social Sciences Supporting Sustainable Water Resource Management and Policies


Resource management decisions are human decisions. Human decisions are shaped through many social factors and interactions, for instance by individual interests, household and community power dynamics but also by regional and national policies. Policies, markets and education are aspects that form the enabling environment e.g. setting incentives or disincentives for water resource conservation. To continue with the example of water conservation: many technical possibilities have been identified, but what do they mean to people? Are they available, affordable, acceptable? Such questions may be answered by social sciences, enriching the debate on viable solutions for sustainable water management in the face of climate change.

This session is situated at the interface between social and natural sciences, aiming to build bridges between disciplines, sectors and stakeholders towards water secure societies.


  • NRM
  • Gender
  • Institutions
  • Conflict
  • Cooperation

Planned Session Structure

  • 10 min. Keynote introduction (Justyna/Mirja)
  • 60 min. presentations (à 10 min.) + 5 min. questions
  • 30 min. overall questions, discussion and wrap up
    • formulate key take-away messages
  • 20 min. poster presentation / exchange


Speakers are invited to highlight the social dynamics and enabling environment for water security under consideration of climate change. Examples of suitable abstracts to this session may concern

  • A social impact assessment of water security policies
  • Water security and conflict situations: the main challenges / pathways to water security
  • Gender aspects in water security
  • An analysis of how social dynamics have shaped current resource management decisions at various levels (individual, households, communities, regions or at national-level)
  • A national-level review of the enabling environment over time or across different domains of water resources management (good governance)

Hosted by

Mirja Michalscheck

PhD in Agricultural Systems Research

Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands

Justyna Sycz

Researcher: Natural resources governance, social dynamics and environment, international development

Institute for Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics – TH Köln, Germany