WaA call for papers: corporate engagement in water policy

September 14, 2011

Open for business or opening Pandora’s box?

A constructive critique of corporate engagement in water policy

With the financial support of WWF, TNC and GIZ

Guest Editors:
Nick Hepworth (Water Witness International)
Jason Morrison (Pacific Institute)
Upmanu Lall (Columbia Water Centre)

Over the past decade the corporate world has awoken to the realisation that improved water management is a fundamental precursor to future prosperity. Its response, supported by substantial investment, has been wide ranging, from supply chain water footprinting and risk assessments, to catchment management projects and the creation of water credit and offset trading schemes. Private sector engagement in the water policy arena is now growing at a formidable pace but the mainstream water management and research community have not fully grasped the significance of this new interest. The many potential hazards and opportunities within these uncharted waters are yet to be navigated or even mapped with any certainty. There are many intellectual, practical and ethical imperatives raised by the growing corporate engagement and influence on the way society uses water and this is a topic ripe for analysis, debate and constructive critique.

Corporate engagement in water policy has the potential to lift the lid on a Pandora’s box of controversies or to inject a much needed tonic of vigour, creative thinking and investment to unlock some of our most intractable water challenges. Pioneering new ways to engage with those who control so much of the world’s commodity, finance and resource flows offers both huge opportunities and poses significant risks for positive change in water management.

This special issue seeks to explore the opportunities and hazards brought by this growing private sector interest in water policy and the dazzling array of new tools for water management which accompanies it. It responds to an absence of rigorous questioning and transparency, to open the range of bilateral and multilateral corporate initiatives, public-private and private-NGO partnerships to greater scrutiny and debate. To this end we invite both empirically grounded and theoretical reflection on these issues from those with interest or involvement in the business-water nexus. Submissions could describe or explore the genesis and motivations behind corporate water engagement and initiatives; real or potential applications, performance and outcomes; set out useful guiding parameters, insights and principles or explore polemical stances around the issues.

Illustrative but by no means exhaustive examples include:

We look forward to a rich, timely and above all constructive debate which will open new doors of inquiry and collaboration towards a genuinely secure and equitable shared water future. Whilst issues of water privatisation may be relevant in this debate we urge a focus instead on the nascent issue of corporates as large-scale water users and emergent actors in public water policy.


Contact the guest-editors

Nick Hepworth (Water Witness International)
Jason Morrison (Pacific Institute)
Upmanu Lall (Columbia Water Centre)

or send your abstract to:
Source: WaA

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