What stories are told about the Water Framework Directive?

06 September 2018
Water Framework Directive
Narratives
Water policy
Public participation

Violeta Cabello (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) presented her research on narratives framing European water policy challenges at the X Iberian Conference of Water Planning and Management (congresoiberico.org) in Coimbra, Portugal, 6-8 September 2018. This research is part of MAGIC’s appraisal of ‘Success and challenges in safeguarding water resources in the EU’ using the Quantitative Story-Telling (QST) approach.

The research results were presented under the conference theme ‘Advances, limits and challenges in the application of the Water Framework Directive’ and attracted around 25 conference attendees. The presentation focused on MAGIC’s hypothesis around the analyses of narratives to identify and check different problem framings and the process for analyzing water policy narratives. Results included three broad categories of narratives: master narratives defending the Water Framework Directive as a successful environmental policy, narratives around current challenges of policy instruments, and narratives about the nexus, common among water stakeholders. The discussion following the presentation centered on the methods used to identify the narratives and questions regarding the representativeness of these discourses were raised. Particular interest was elicited by the narratives on public participation, a key innovation of water policy in the early 2000s that nonetheless seems to abate amongst the new generation of water policy makers.

The presentation and conference paper (both in Spanish), entitled 'What stories are told about the Water Framework Directive', are available in our document repository.

See also our discussion forum to comment on this topic: https://magic-nexus.eu/policy-case-studies-water-framework-directive-wfd