Charting the emergence of 'global water initiatives' in world water governance

Robert G. Varady, Katharine Meehan, Emily McGovern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Over the last century, the aperture of water governance has widened beyond local and regional schemes to include a growing number of dynamic organizations and events with a "global" scope. Until recently, little had been written about the historical development of global water governance, institutional connectivity within the field, or key organizational successes and failures as perceived by water experts. This paper provides water scientists, managers, policymakers, and those with an interest in international water issues with an overview of global initiatives. It charts the emergence of a set of institutions and events, referred to as "global water initiatives," or GWIs, using a survey of water experts and other research. Institutional diversity among GWIs is described by defining four distinct types of initiatives and specific differences in scope and programmatic orientation. This overview also entails the historical paradigms of water management, evaluation of the results of the growth and proliferation of numerous new GWIs in recent decades, and some recommendations for supporting and sustaining GWI efforts in order to foster and improve multilevel water management in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-155
Number of pages6
JournalPhysics and Chemistry of the Earth
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009


  • Global water governance
  • Institutions
  • Policy
  • Transboundary water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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